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Wearable Art: Understanding the Handmade Craze

It feels great to love what your wearing for the simple reason that it is an expression of who you are. Fashion becomes a lot more fun when it comes from a place deeper than a quest for conformity. When you pick out an outfit because of who you are and what you stand for, that’s when you don’t only look fabulous, but you feel it too!

Even so, its tempting to lust over that outfit everyone’s buying, the tote bag that magazines are featuring, or the must have shoes of the season. Fact: it’s both comforting and affirming to look like you fit in.
With the recent craze over handmade items in Appleton, however, it’s become easier to individualize and personalize fashion. This is hardly a problem at Lawrence, where like our varied academic interests, fashion is wide ranging too. After all, the average Lawrentian (if there is such a thing!) is far from your standard conformist.

I’m here to assure you that purchasing handmade items are a great way to remember the value of individualizing style. With unique accessories and clothing, there is no need to stress over finding one of a kind things.

In fact, many Lawrentians are frequent users and sellers on the popular site, Etsy.com. Esty is a site where artisans can sell hand made products, and buyers can easily browse a wide range of exclusive items. 

Said sophomore and Etsy shopper, Cori Lin, “I got started making accessories when I would see items in a store that I loved, but couldn’t afford. I get a lot of pride in knowing that I can make cute and functional items just as well as purchasing them. While hand making items does take more time, you have total control over how you want the piece to look and function!”
 
Lawrence’s student organization, Magpie, known for its thrift sales in Warch Campus Center, began a series of workshops to promote making hand made items for an eco-friendly purpose. This year, they set out to re-use materials from less sellable articles of clothing to have students makeheadbands, fringe shirts, and cloth necklaces. “We are always looking for creative ideas on how to re-use clothing,” says Lin, who is an active Magpie member.

In a chat with Dainty Daises shop owner, Michelle Pieterick, Pieterick reflected on the value of handmade goods. “In a world where everything is so mass produced, I think people really do appreciate the handmade things and the time and effort that we put into them to come up with unique and different pieces, ” she shares. “All my things take on a look. As an artist, its something you grow into as your own look. No matter how hard you change it you cant. There is always something about you that comes out in your work.”

Dainty Dasies is a shop on College Avenue that sells handmade clothing and accessories, with products from up to thirty Wisconsin based artisans. Half of the items in the store are priced at fewer than ten dollars and the store offers interactive craft workshops for anyone to create their own handmade products.

“Remember that none of the things are made by a big company,” continues Pieterick.“One person is putting their time and attention to detail into the product, so its not mass produced in any way. Actually, a lot of my artists do one-of-a-kind pieces, or limited edition where there are only a dozen and then you wont see them any more.”

Another plus to purchasing more hand made item is that you know where your money is going. You know that you are supporting an individual or an artist who has put their time and passion into the creation of a product. You become part of the movement that cultivates more art and self-expression in our world. 

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