Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Made in America

Local art and hand made soaps

It used to be that that little tag from the Garment Workers of America, stitched into unobtrusive seams in shirts, trousers, skirts etc.was a guarantee that you were buying something made in America, by American workers, and you could feel a small bit of satisfaction in supporting the national economy, or at least helping someone in America to remain employed and able to support his or her family. In recent decades that little tag is as hard to find as feathers on a fish, worthy of a place in the Smithsonian.

A few casual hours at the mall would convince you that nothing is made in America anymore. Everyone I know has had the experience of thinking they've found the perfect gift for a friend's birthday, or a souvenir of a local place they've visited, only to turn it over and groan. "Made in China" automatically makes it a less than perfect choice.

But I have good news!

Heading home through Kentucky after a visit to Lily and family we spotted a sign for this off the highway.....

Walking in the Door

Beautiful hand blown glass
.....and quickly exited. In his former, unretired life, the OC would have been hard to persuade as he'd have been fixated on how quickly we could get home. No persuasion was needed however, and before we knew it we were walking in the door. If you were beginning to think that we didn't know how to make anything in America anymore a visit here would convince you otherwise. Kentucky, at least, is bristling with creative artists and craftsmen. Have a peek......

One of a kind pottery pieces

Unique fiber arts and quilts
More beautiful pottery
Hand painted silk scarves

We came away with some Kentucky bacon for our aspiring chef who thinks there is no dish that cannot benefit from the addition of bacon, some locally made chocolates (only two left as of this writing!) some beeswax candles, and restored confidence that there are artists and craftsmen aplenty in Kentucky, and all across the country, making beautiful and useful things, breathing new life into ancient crafts, each one putting his unique, creative stamp on each piece of his work and causing people like me to smile twice --- once at the beauty and craftsmanship of the object and  again, with delight, on turning it over and seeing that it was "Made in America."


Marigold Jam said...

It's the same here in the UK too and hardly anything even if bought in an up-market shop is actually made here. It used to be proudly proclaimed that things were made in Britain and Marks and Spencer always used to say 90% (it might have been a higher percentage I forget) of our goods are Made in Britain. Not any more and yet like you we can find some wonderful artisan crafted goods if only we take the time to look and foodstuffs are found aplenty in my neck of the woods I am happy to say but clothing, household appliances, gifts well as you say they are as common as feathered fish. Shame but in these days of cheaper is better (or is it!) nothing is made here it would seem.

Elephant's Child said...

And the same in Oz too.
Artisan work is available, but everyday items are not.
Lightbulbs, toilet paper, everyday clothing. Far too much food. Including fruit and vegetables.
When I can I do buy Australian made, but it isn't easy, and it is often very, very expensive.

Lee said...

It's pretty hard to find "Made in Australia" here, too. I spend longer at the supermarket, glasses perched on my nose reading the fine print! I do my utmost at all times to purchase Aussie goods...but it gets more difficult by the day.

It's very frustrating, to say the least!

Thimbleanna said...

It looks like a fun stop Molly. I sort of chuckled when you mentioned there was no need to persuade the OC to stop. Isn't it funny how that works? I always feel like we're rushing on vacation -- although I hate to wish away my life, I can't wait until retirement so that we can just stop anywhere we want!

Wisewebwoman said...

And so very hard to find everyday stuff locally made.

I love the locally grown veggies, my eggs from my neighbour, etc. but try and replace a fridge or a kettle.

Lovely slow years you're having there a chara :)


SmitoniusAndSonata said...

The increasing popularity of Poundshops over the last thirty years hasn't helped . Our local one has wedding dresses this week ... !
But the endless demand for novelties and extras , wherever made . continues .

Susan Kane said...

I have been proactive about selecting products made in America. Putting down things that say "Made in...China, India, Bangladesh, etc."

A great place to buy wonderful soap is Donna O'Shaugnessy!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I love that shop in Berea. I've bought pottery there before.

Relatively Retiring said...

We are fortunate in Middle England in having local Farmers' Markets and also the opportunity to buy directly from some farms. Crafts appear fairly regularly at a local large show-ground, but all this takes time, planning and petrol.