I have been reflecting on the direction that I'd like my handweaving efforts to take ever since Etsy announced that it will allow shops to outsource production of "handmade" items. While I was chatting with my sister about how frustrated I was with Etsy's new policies, she suggested that Etsy might have done me a big favor. And indeed, I think that my sister was right. And this is why...
Reason 1: I'm a weaver.
After much thought, I determined that I want to be a handweaver. I want to make cloth. I do not want to be known as a "designer" or "author," and I certainly don't want to farm out the weaving process to someone else. Weaving is something that I absolutely love to do. I like every step of the process: planning a project, selecting yarns, preparing the warp, dressing the loom, weaving, and finishing my handmade cloth. To be disengaged from any part of this process would be, for me, inauthentic.
|Winding a warp is one of my favorite parts of the process|
Reason 2: Etsy is just too darned big.
Etsy is becoming really, really big. I recently did a keyword search on "handwoven" and was given over 29K items to review. Many of these textiles are vintage or antique, and many are produced (mass produced?) overseas. In order to have my (authentically) handwoven items more visible on the site, I would have to pay extra in search ad fees and spend an awful lot of time toying with search terms/tags.
|I'd rather be weaving.|
Reason 3: I've outgrown Etsy.
"...a clearinghouse for odds and ends" (www.dailymail.uk Oct. 2013). "...eBay of the do-it-yourself movement" (New York Times, Dec. 2009). "....an army of crafters" (Inc., April 2011). These are just some of the ways that the media has described Etsy. Lately I have been balking at the term "crafter." (I had a rather unfortunate experience at a "crafter" exhibit lately so this might have something to do with it). Etsy Corp's recent mismanagement of a situation involving a highly offensive Etsy seller who was selling t-shirts that promoted violence against women was disturbing and just plain wrong. Then there are the resellers and shops that blatantly disregard copyright and intellectual property issues. There are just too many reasons against staying and paying the fees. I'd rather walk away from the negativity (as I see it) and focus on this:
|Handwoven scarf by Nutfield Weaver|
I'm not sure if I would have put forth the effort to try to discern the direction that I'd like to take as an independent artisan had Etsy not announced its new policies in early October. So, I think my sister was right -- they did do me a favor. Thanks, Etsy.