I had the pleasure today of discovering the olive bites blog, and of reading this post from last Wednesday about Creative Tithing.
As with church tithing, creative tithing is the concept of giving 10% to other crafters to encourage, promote, and support one another. The world of crafty professionals is growing larger and larger all the time, and with it comes a few nasty little devils that (in my opinion anyway) defeat the purpose of a crafting community entirely: harsh competition, plagiarism, and those soulless mass-producers who always manage to get themselves an etsy page or tout that their products are "handmade." Here's a hint: hand-stitched by poor children in another country doesn't really qualify as "handmade."
These are the monsters that creep into most capitalistic endeavors. The idea behind capitalism is very sound, but in the crafting world, there is simply no room for profit-seeking alone. Sure, we all want to make some money for our creative efforts, but when money is the sole achievement to be had, the art dies a painful death. What I love about the crafting world is the unique quality of the items sold, the love you can feel when you unwrap that decoupaged cigar box or that hand-painted locket or that painstakingly stitched vest. And that's what it's really all about, isn't it? Love.
The above-linked blog post encourages us to use some small portion (10% is suggested) of our profits and our unexpected windfalls to support the community we all want to be part of and protect. In a follow-up post from just yesterday, she examines other ways we can support without opening our wallets: opening our hearts and minds and mouths in enthusiasm and encouragement. Even if I never sell anything in my upcoming etsy endeavor, I think even a single note from a single browser expressing an interest in my crafts would absolutely make my day - or possibly my month, depending on what month it is.
Just a little soap-box speech for you about the importance of spreading it around - not just the money, but the love.