Friday, May 21, 2010

What does Handmade mean?

In the world of collectibles we use the words “hand painted” and “crafted by hand” along with “hand-applied” and other phrase. We live in a world where things are mass produced and sent down an assembly line – like electronics and cars, etc. But collectibles are still being created by people, and it is a labor-intensive process. Each of our figurines at The Hamilton Collection is designed and then sculpted to match the artist’s rendering. Sculpted from clay! The sculptors who work for us are amazingly talented. We ask for tweaks to be made to the sculpts, and then we approve the sculpt when we have made it look as much like the artwork as possible. Then each figurine is molded and cast into resin or porcelain and painted BY HAND! The amount of detail that goes into each one is unbelievable. You know those little Precious Moments children’s teardrop-shaped eyes? They are each painted by hand. And the eyes are very specific – they must have a definitive shape and be painted in a certain way. It is very tedious work. And what about the scales on our dragons? Each scale is sculpted and painted in the greatest detail.

Nothing about our processes is automated. Each figurine is hand numbered, matched to its Certificate of Authenticity, carefully boxed and then shipped to our customers. We are so proud of the work that we do and that we can offer it at such a reasonable price to our customers.

So, the next time you see that something is handmade, really think about what that means. I know that I have a much greater appreciation for hand crafting now that I am involved with the creation of these beautiful figurines. It is nothing short of spectacular in how it all comes together!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our New Buying Mentality

I was reading an article on the internet yesterday about our new frugality as consumers. It said that Americans are still concerned about buying and have changed their behavior. I know that we have cut back in our household and are really trying to find money savers and cut extra spending. So, when is it okay to buy something? I don’t know. According to my husband, there is never a right time. Food is an acceptable purchase and of course, you have to pay your utilities and gas for the car, etc. But is everything else an opportunity for savings? Can we really just not spend money? It is very hard for me because buying things makes me feel good. Okay, I guess some would say that I have a problem. But it is nice to get out and see the new items at the store or buy some organizational thing for your bathroom or just get a new blouse. I have recently had a few weddings and graduations to attend, so I needed to buy gifts. It gave me an excuse to shop which I haven’t had lately. My family has even skipped Christmas gifts the past 2 years due to the economic climate. It’s not that we couldn’t afford to buy a small gift for each family member – it’s just that it seemed silly to spend money when so many people are in need and have lost their jobs. Since we have all been very lucky by staying employed in this tough time, we bought gifts for children in need.

So, where does that leave me? Well, worried. Worried that not buying things is making the economy worse. And worried that buying things is irresponsible when others are suffering. I think that is the situation so many Americans find themselves in. So, we all just wait.

Hopefully, we will start to feel better as summer comes, and we can take vacations this year and maybe ease back into spending.