You may have noticed that Darling & Dear handmade cards is a venture into the craft world me and my sister Kim have made. So, in honor of today’s humongous handcrafted goods market in downtown Raleigh—The Handmade Market—I bring you five dang good reasons to marvel at the greatness of locally, handmade goods (through the lens of Darling & Dear and the lives of the handmaidens and handmens? we’ve met along the way).
1. Handmade goods have all those feel-good things going for them.
Many crafters start with raw products they purchase locally (like rubber, metal, or paper) and/or select materials that have been recycled or will be reused (hello, Craigslist!).
2. Crafters of handmade goods are committed to the process down to the last little bit.
To make a lot of something, crafters may employ a machine or store bought items to help get the job done. But in many cases, especially during those humble beginning days, crafters likely handmake much of the “stuff” in the background too (that you don’t see).
Darling & Dear purchases card stock from a local vendor, along with our raw materials: rubber, ink pads, pens, and more. Then, we carve out the stamps that we use, creating our own unique designs, and write all of the messages on the front by hand.
3. Making goods yourself (cards, clothes, paintings, jewelry) requires a significant amount of time.
The best way I can describe it is to say, it’s a beautiful struggle. Part of the reason handcrafters do what they do is because they want to spend the time. It’s therapeutic, it’s real, it’s tangible. The mind can wander around while your hands and eyes make lovely things that make you smile and very proud. But, there is also so much balance happening—of relationships and other projects, trips and other work to bring in money (for many). This isn’t something to be pitied, or sympathized with even, just appreciated.
4. Every detail you see in the product before you was a decision made by the crafter and a little window into how they see the world.
Kim and I make decisions, great and small, constantly. When we are creating a new card, we ask ourselves:
What images best represent this occasion? (think: Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon, or Just Saying Hi Old Friend)
Which image will we base our design on? And, what should the message be?
Then, what colors best represent the design and the message?
That’s just the beginning and only reflects the making of the good, not to mention the marketing and selling of it.
Because Darling & Dear cards are based on simplicity, we use 100% recycled card stock in a natural shade (with some speckling) and a single stamp color, along with a short and sweet message underneath. The inside of the card is left blank for the sender to include a few personal words for their recipient.
5. There’s always a good story somewhere behind the scenes.
Some crafters work in teams, and those partnerships typically share some quirky stories of odd, silly, or even accidental! beginnings. Some are family duos (like Darling & Dear) or trios (like Epona & Oak). And, others work alone (while relying on family and friends for support along the way). Honey, stop welding for a second and eat lunch! Look, I made PB&J!
Darling & Dear was created out of my sister’s raw art, craft, and design talent + my way with words ;) + our combined daydreaming of making better cards than Hallmark. And, presto! Here we are. One day we just started doing it.
P.P.S. Our newest card With Sympathy is available at Epona & Oak in City Market.