Speaking of Fair Trade …

This Christmas season, as everyone is shopping for wonderful, handcrafted items to give loved ones, I’d like to point out a couple things to keep in mind.

First, it is nearly impossible for artisans and craftspeople to make a living at their craft, especially in a town like Santa Barbara where the cost of living is so high (with the exception of jewelers and ceramicists). We work long hours, schlep from show to show, gallery to gallery, enduring all kinds weather, injuries, callouses, and critics.

Second, different artists sell better at different venues, depending on the item, craft, and/or price point. Some of us have limited options for venues in which we can participate that will sell well for us.

This is why it is frustrating when the Yes Store demands that its artists not sell at any other holiday venues. Forcing artists to choose one venue over another can be devastating for some who might make 50-100 percent of their sales at holiday time. The owners who run the Yes Store benefit from this arrangement, not the artists.

Consider shopping at artist-friendly venues this holiday season. Alternatives include: Art & Soul of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Arts, Blue Lotus, Crimson Holiday, Art Hus in Solvang, and others. And be on the look out for holiday shows like the annual Botanic Garden Holiday Marketplace (always the weekend before Thanksgiving), or the Tribal Arts Market at Museum of Natural History (first weekend in December).

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