Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Won!! (And Why Handmade Items Make My Heart Melt)

I've just won these gorgeous lampwork and enameled metal beads courtesy of Anne at Gardanne Glass Lampwork Beads & Artisan Jewelry!  Anne hosted a popular giveaway on her Gardanne Life blog.  The prize consisted of these beautiful handcrafted beads.

And I've won them!  How amazing is this?  I can't wait to create some magical pieces with these beauties!

I'll be honest now and admit that I've been drooling over the enameled metal spheres in Anne's Gardanne Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads shop on Etsy for some time.  So, of course I jumped at the chance to enter her blog contest.

Anne creates these beautiful beads herself.  I feel honoured to work with materials that have been lovingly handcrafted by another artist.

When I work with such treasures, I imagine each of our fingertips delicately rolling the materials and carefully configuring the pieces together.  The collective endeavors of the artists add a depth of meaning to a new project and emblazon it with a rich personal history.

There is no item quite as valuable as one which carries a collection of personal narratives.

However, this is not to say that other objects lack important background stories.  Just as we each have a collection of personal experiences behind us that have influenced who we are today, material things have histories of their own.

IMO, its extraordinarily important to consider the backgrounds of our objects:  Where did its component ingredients come from?  How was it assembled?  How did its production affect its environment?  Whose fingerprints are invisibly inscribed on the object?  How did it come into your possession and where will it eventually end up?

To ponder these questions means to re-evaluate the ways in which we live our lives.  For too many people, an object's story begins with a retail purchase and ends with a garbage can.  Yet the truth is so much deeper.

This is part of the reason why I love handcrafted items.  I enjoy the knowledge offered in an artisan product.  I like to imagine the care and ingenuity applied during its creative production.

Experience has shown me, too that artisans often use materials that are meaningful to them.  This meaning may come through the knowledge of a material's background.  Perhaps the wool came from a family-run sheep farm.  Or the wood from a sustainably managed forest.  Or the buttons from a vintage jacket.

Maybe the artist has re-used materials, giving things new life and keeping them out of the landfill.  Or perhaps the material was selected for its ability to break down after use... like a handmade holiday card infused with wildflower seeds.

Artisans also consider a project's future.  Will it go to a new mum?  A young girl receiving her first fine jewelry?  An art aficionado?  A neighbor?  A fellow handcrafter?

I think about these things a lot and I'm sure I'm not alone.  When I work with my hands, I infuse a little of myself into the project.  I carefully prepare materials, review design patterns, and tenderly and deliberately create new items - all the while considering the appropriateness of my materials and where the final product may go.   

There is an essence of the artist's soul contained within a handcrafted product.

I am so wonderfully, lovingly honoured to continue the process with these new Gardanne beads.  Already beautiful on their own, I can't wait to discover what they will become!

Thank you so much to Anne of Gardanne Glass Lampwork Beads & Fine Jewelry!  I cannot tell you how ecstatic and thankful I am for your generosity!

Please take a moment to visit Anne on her blog Gardanne Life, Artisan Jewelry shop or Etsy Bead shop.  When you see her beautiful pieces of handcrafted goodness, you'll be glad you did!


  1. So you're the lucky lady who won the beads! Congrats and enjoy. Her beads are beautiful.

  2. What a lovely post, I agree I am a sentimental fool when it comes to handcrafted items. The connections I have made with others through my blog and shop in one short year has been an invaluable experience for me.
    Thank you so much for your kind words and I will link to this post later today.

  3. Thank you and thank you! I'm just tickled. I loved your post, Gardanne! :)

  4. Congratulations ...I must say I love the beads as well...I can't wait to see the creations you make with them...
    Luv ya,


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