This month's APLS carnival is about buying local. Now as a gardening blog, I ought to write about local eating and growing of my veggies. I'm not - though I have a post in mind that some year I'll get to on that subject. Nor am I going to write about personally buying local. This time of the year for me is about selling local. I'm a crafter. More specifically I'm a beadweaver. I take tiny little seed beads and turn them into jewelry and ornaments and sell them in the Boston area where I live.
I belong to the Sign of the Dove, which is an artists' cooperative. We have a year round store that is located in Porter Square, Cambridge, MA. It is a small store. Currently we have 22 artists. We all work the shifts and all pitch in to do the jobs that keep a store running. I love being in this store. It is a treat to meet the people buying your work and it is nice belonging to a community of other artists and crafters.
But this season is all about our holiday store which has about 60 artists. Every year we find an empty store front in the Cambridge area. This year it is in Harvard Square. We work hard to get a new store up and together by our opening day (this year it was November 7th). Our space was not very good to start with. It used to be a theater in the basement. They had painted the walls dark and taken the lighting out. But we all pitch in for all the chores that needed doing and after our Up and Down committee and our Display committee do their work the store is always beautiful.
My job in the coop is sales scheduling. There are day managers and cashiers too, but I only schedule the sales crew. 38 of our members are on sales this year. I hand out a form to all the group and get their schedules. Then I work to make sure we have the correct number of people working each shift. It is a very time consuming puzzle, but I get it done every year.
Being a local crafter is a very low paid job. We do it because we love it, not because we will get rich doing it. We love working with our hands; we love beauty; we love being with our fellow artists; we love seeing the smile on our customers faces when they find the perfect necklace. Above all we love the connection or we wouldn't be part of a cooperative.
And if I haven't been around commenting on your blog recently, now you know why I've been so busy. Life gets kind of crazy for me this time of year.