Having art in your day to day life and in your home can be uplifting and inspiring. Creating a life and home environment that pleases you in small ways can spread out and effect you in a much bigger way. If you want to add art or craft into your life it is getting easier and easier. There's no end of markets and online shops to buy from. I started collecting art at an early age but it is never too late to start a collection of happy making things! Art and craft collecting is an investment but it doesn't have to break the bank.
The 5 most affordable ways to start including art and craft into your everyday are handmade jewellery, handmade pottery, fine art prints, art printed on fabric and thrift shop finds. Typically the major difference between art and craft is that crafts usually have a function. A very well crafted object will function very well. Art does not have a function exactly but it still needs to function. A print needs a frame and hanging device, a sculpture needs a base or a place to safely be displayed.
1. Handmade Jewellery
When looking to buy handmade jewellery you are looking for something that pleases you and makes you feel good when you are wearing it. The function though can be important, Does it have scratchy edges? Will it snag all my favorite sweaters and scarves? How heavy is it? Will it be comfortable and easy to wear? These are all personal functions, some people don't mind a super heavy necklace or pair of earrings, I know if I put something heavy on I will just take it off half way through the day so I no longer buy bulky things. Metal allergies are something to think about and how things are constructed. Stretchy elastic bracelets usually are not going to last that long, but they're easy to put on. Toggle clasps don't always work the way they are supposed to, the weight of the necklace or bracelet has to be in proportion to the size of the toggle. If you have metal allergies ask before buying what the earwires are made of.
2. Handmade Pottery
I love ceramics. My degree is actually in ceramics so I have always had clay in my life. I made ceramic sculpture fairly well but I am a pretty horrible potter, so I don't make my own coffee cups or anything like that. I do love having handmade mugs, bowls and dishes in my home though. I have an eclectic collection. Some things are quite masterful and some things I fished out of the garbage as they were rejected by the person that made them at school. Good potters are often perfectionists!
Some things to consider when you are buying ceramics are the weight of the object, pinholes in the glaze and the feel of the bottom. Ideally you want a smooth well considered bottom, no visible holes in the glaze, especially on the inside and if it feels too heavy in your hand, you may not use it as much. That one is personal, I don't mind heavy stuff, but I have big hands. That's another thing, does the handle of a mug fit your hand? It ought to! One more thing if you are investing in a tea pot, make sure it pours well and also feels good in your hand.
3. Fine Art Prints
Often times original art is expensive. Sometimes too expensive. This is where buying a print can be a good solution. Prints come in different sizes and qualities. It is best to go with an archival paper but not the end of the world to go with something else. The archival print will usually cost more. I would suggest not hanging a print in direct sunlight regardless.
One instance where a print is necessary is if you are looking to include a Davinci or a Picasso in your collection. My all time favourite is Gustav Klimt and I must say I have been guilty of buying art books and cutting them up and framing the pictures. Another option is calendars. You can buy a fine art calendar and frame the pictures, just make sure you do not ever write doctors appts or anything at all on the calendar as you will leave an indentation.
If you are collecting the work of artists that are still alive Etsy is a great place to find interesting and well priced prints. Markets are an option and many galleries and online galleries carry prints.
4. Art Printed on Stuff... From Fabric to Phone Cases
Things have changed so much since I went to art school. We didn't even have digital cameras. We had to buy tungsten film and rent lights and make slides and OMG what a production for someone with no photography skills or attention span! Now you can scan your work and have it printed very easily. This has led to an amazing amount of websites that will print anything you want onto almost anything you want. The big difference with all of these companies is where the objects are made and the quality of the object that is being printed on.
The past few years I have become increasingly mindful of where things are being made and how I can support economies close to home. I have discovered a company called Art of Where that is located in Quebec that does quality printing. They are very transparent about how things are made and everything is made sweatshop free. To view my designs go to Natural Icon Designs & Apparel
5. Thrift Shop Finds
The thrill of the hunt draws me back to thrift shops time and again. Now this is a category which brings to mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So feel free to buy things that you love and don't worry about what other people think! My personal guidelines for thrifting is to buy things that are in good repair, buy only things that I love and to not buy things just because it is a good deal. You can only fit so many good deals into your house! There are so many different places to go thrift shopping, you are not limited to Value Village. One thing that is helpful if you are going to a smaller less known shop is to bring your own bags, and maybe bring a bag of stuff to donate and keep the things flowing.