Shop unique. Shop local. Support artists and artisans.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday. We have to face that Thanksgiving kicks off a commercial craze that is hard to ignore.

While I am spending time in gratitude for my family, others are lining up at mega-stores to get the latest gadget at a discount price. What I personally don’t get is why someone would stand in line for hours for something that is mass-produced. It’s not like the stores won’t restock before Christmas.

As I immerse myself further in the handmade and artistic market, I see the blood sweat and tears that go into creating unique pieces, one-of-a-kind works of art that will not repeat themselves in the exact same form again. So here’s my roundup of those artisans, whom I support, whose art I own or have wishlisted to own.

  • PerficalSense Studio will host an Artful Giving Holiday Sale with pieces from the Salon Show and additional local art works during a Wine & Cheese Opening Friday, November 30,  6 to 9 pm, or Saturday, December 1, 10 to 6 pm, Sunday, December, 2, 10 to 5 pm
  • That show will include items from fiber artist Danny Mansmith
  • Alexis Oritz offers ceramic pieces
  • Vitruvian Fine Art Studio is offering Gift Boxes for the holidays, including a Gift Certificate for any drawing or painting class at the studio, and select drawing or painting materials for the class – all bundled-up in a festive holiday package!

If you’re looking for jewelry (other than mine, of course):

  • Rebecca Zemans offers lovely sculptural pieces
  • Suze Weinberg hand-beads necklaces with unique finds
  • The Pieced Together Artist offers bits and baubles to create your own jewelry with
  • I’ve got a bridal bouquet trousseau I’m hoping to send Princess Lasertron’s way someday (even if I pull a Sue Sylvester and marry myself!) but she also offers brooches and pins and other cute felted items

For a bigger budget and those looking to adorn walls, I recommend one-of-a-kind art by the following:

Got a sweet tooth?

  • Chicago Chocolate Tours offers a perfect sampling of fine chocolates while touring Chicago neighborhoods. One of my favorite things to do with out-of-towners.
  • The Sugar Path bakes wonderful cupcakes and pies I have sampled at various WIN events. They’ll open a storefront in Geneva, IL soon.

Not everyone makes things, of course, and I also give props to these solopreneurs and entrepreneurs whose services are tailored and customized for you, and whose storefronts consist of hand-picked items intended to make your life easier.

  • Also in Geneva, Peaceful Parlour has handpicked environmentally friendly and unique products for your household
  • Ten Thousand Villages offers fair trade creations by artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East
  • Hello-Holiday has me revising my clothing budget to incorporate their joyful inventory of vintage and retro style dresses, tops, jeans, shoes and accessories into my wardrobe
  • ThriveYourTribe helps small businesses create an online brand presence with design and copywriting services

What local shops and solopreneur ventures do you recommend? Let’s support local, hand-made, and small ventures, shall we?

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