We published a resource guide to help you have a handmade holiday last year, and since giving handmade gifts is very important to us here at Green Upgrader, we've updated the guide for 2011!
The holidays are so close I can practically taste the stuffed mushrooms! That also means you're probably working on that holiday gift list. This year, instead of shopping at a big box store, use your holiday dollars to support local, independent artists or your crafty skill to fashion unique gifts for the lucky folks on your list.
Whether you're looking to make by hand or buy handmade, here are some resources to get you going!
Craft markets used to be full of cornflower blue wooden duckies and tons of raffia, but no more! Sure, there are more traditional craft shows out there, but as the indie craft movement has gained steam, more and more shows featuring modern handmade goods are popping up!
If you're not sure what shows are going on in your area, CRAFT is a great online resource. They publish a list each week of upcoming craft markets, and they have an online craft market calendar, too. Are you an indie crafter looking for markets to sell your goods? Their weekly lists include calls for applications, too!
Pop Up Shops
Pop up shops are nothing new, but there are more indie pop up shops than ever this year. Unlike a store that's open year-round, pop up shops open seasonally for a few weeks to a month or more. I don't know of any online resources for finding pop up shops in your area, but you can often find out about them by visiting local craft markets - pop vendors at those markets who are also participating in pop up shops will often have fliers to give you. You can also try Googling "pop up shop" along with the name of your city and see what turns up.
Still can't track down a pop up shop near you? Here are three that are happening this season in different parts of the U.S.:
- The Indie Craft Experience's pop up shop is open here in Atlanta, GA from December 1st-24th (Full disclosure: I'm selling some of my wares in their shop!)
- Craftland has been doing a pop up shop in Providence, RI for 10 years now! What started as a seasonal event morphed into a full time store. They're still doing the pop up shop thing, though, through December 31st this year.
- Handmade Promenade in Indianapolis is running a pop up shop until December 31st.
Do you guys know of any other indie pop up shops that I missed? Please tell us about your local pop up shops in the comments!
Can't find a market or pop up shop in your area? Looking for something specific that you haven't been able to find at local markets? There are a ton of great online resources for handmade holiday shopping! Etsy, of course, is probably the most popular, but there are a slough of other online, handmade marketplaces worth checking out:
- Cosa Verde - While this is more of a showcase than a marketplace, you can find all sorts of handmade vendors here, and they all focus on eco-friendly products!
- Artfire - You'll find quite a few Etsy sellers on here, as well as handmade artists using this as their primary shop. Artfire is getting very popular!
- Indie Fixx Galleria - This is almost like an online, juried craft show. Indie Fixx chooses the best applicants and showcases their shops.
Did I miss your favorite online handmade shop? Share away in the comments!
Brick and Mortar Shops
Not all brick and mortar shops sell big box goods, and more and more cities have shops opening up that sell indie crafts! Smaller boutiques often sell handmade goodies from local designers, so next time you're out and about, ask around! Here are a few of my favorite indie DIY shops:
- Young Blood Gallery and Boutique here in Atlanta
- Crafty Wonderland in Portland
- 9th Life in Baltimore
- Urban Fauna Studio in San Francisco
- ReForm School in Los Angeles
- Leo Handmade Gallery in Chattanooga
- Foundry in Asheville
What's your favorite local boutique for buying handmade?
Make it Yourself
Of course, if you have a very specific idea, your best bet might be to try making it yourself! If you're looking for ideas, our Craft Recycled archive here is chock full of eco-friendly projects from the simple to the complex. Sites like Crafting a Green World are also excellent resources for tutorials and handmade gift ideas.
Do you guys have any handmade gifts in the works? I'm thinking about making home-steeped bitters for some of the folks on my list this year (Shh! Don't tell them!) Let's share more ideas in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by kate*