Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Vision for Vintage

Clothes surround me and my goal is suddenly clear.  I know exactly what creative energy this newest Etsy project will require. My aim is straight, my vision is 20/20, my focus is … focused. And the thrift store of choice has never looked so beautiful. (Well, not since last week anyway.)
Does this describe you in your creative endeavor? Are you so involved with your jewelry, or  crocheting, or pottery, or painting, that your creative genius -- also known as the “muse” -- is with you, powering you on to our greatest work yet?
For sellers on Etsy that deal with handmade items, perhaps this happens frequently and results in wonderful, artful items. But for sellers like me, who sell vintage items, the second we drop ourselves into a thrift store, antique store, garage sale or estate sale, we are as enraptured in those places as you are in your hand made works of art -- almost as if we were literally discovering the lost world of Atlantis.
The flick of your wrist to bend the silver, or speckle the glaze, or make the felted hand bag, is the same as us “vintagers” whipping our hands through the hangers of clothes, digging into boxes, rifling through linens, and scanning shelves of glassware or jewelry.
The creativity in my Etsy shop, The Perennial Past, has everything to do with imagining each item as sale worthy. Can I see someone buying this? Is it in decent shape? Is it more unusual? If I don’t sell it right away, is this item worth the investment to me in the end?
The Perennial Past
With Etsians and their handmade goods, time is a luxury they can afford to use. It is a part of their process. A pendant can be perfected the next day, or next month. A crocheted hat can be added to, or even subtracted from, tomorrow or next week. But to purchase a vintage 80s sweater, or say a vintage piece of glass, is a decision we have to make almost immediately, deciding whether it will be a worthy investment.
And -- more likely -- hoping that someone else won’t snatch it from under our noses, in 3 seconds flat.
While vintage sellers deal with this as a part of the job -- an occupational hazard, if you will -- it is also the very thing that keeps us yearning to find the perfect treasure, you know the treasure. The one that literally makes us push through the average to find the above average; eyes coursing through thousands of items, only to narrow it down to a few things.
Ali Cs Creations
Sometimes, I long for that creative side I don’t have; the one that can create a gorgeous scarf or amazing earrings out of thin imagination. But, I know it takes time to think these things up too. And that it can take days to finish them in what I can find in my local thrift store in minutes.
But the stakes are completely different. Time spent for the artist on their art is time I spend searching for things I deem worthy enough to sell. But, I don’t think either side has it easier. No one has it better. “Vintagers” and “hand-makers” are all artists, but finding gold with different mining pans.
Having said that, there is a common thread that vintage sellers, crafters and artisans do have:  a love for selling their treasures. We all love making others happy with our art, or in my case, vintage items. And in turn, it gives the buyer something they will not only love, but cherish, for a very long time.
This makes the love for our craft, and our little business, a little bit of perfection for everyone.


MrsT said...

Well said, Heather!


Prairie Primitives Folk Art said...

Thanks for the post Heather! I looove that sweater, looks like something I'd wear today (alas, it's not my size).

Karen said...

Artfully said. I really loved the beautiful way in which you explained that creative spark that shines in all of us sellers on Etsy. No one could have said it better. Many thanks!

debi said...

There is creativity in so many forms. The common thread is knowing what your customers want and bringing it to them. Also the hardest part for all of us. Well stated!!

Heather Spiva said...

Thanks everyone! Really appreciate the words of kindness. I had fun with the post. ;)

Deb said...

Yeah Heather, you said it perfectly! Thanks for your post!

sansuey said...

Beautifully expressed, almost magical! Great photos too!