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Traveling and Souvenirs

Alright, yes, I make craft for a living, so my perspective might be just a little skewed. I own that. But still, even way back in the old days (pre-2003) before I ever even dreamed of lampworking, I still never understood the practice of going on vacation and then buying a souvenir that wasn’t from or made specifically for that area. For instance, down in the French Quarter there is this store that stocks some things New Orleans related, but then they also have a whole bunch of ceramic animals. Like moose. Cause here in Southeast Louisiana we have our fair share of moose each year-oh, wait.

You’ve all seen them. The craptastic stores in your tourist area of choice filled with cheap crap made in China. How do these stores stay in business? Is it the sun screen and cheap sunglasses that keeps them going? And if so why are those stores stocked with a multitude of pure crap knickknacks?  It’s a mystery. Who buys that stuff? Sadly, someone near and dear to me loves those shops.  I don’t get it.

Anyway, these aren’t the stores that really piss me off. The ones that really get me are the “art galleries” stocking stuff made in China or where ever else they make mass produced items. There is one in the French Quarter, actually owned by an artist-AN ARTIST-whom we have spoken to a few times and really liked. Greg is fascinated with his art work and we had contemplated getting a piece when funds allowed. Then one day we walked in to find the artist had hired a manager. Great the artist has work to do, making art. But the manager started stocking the store with stuff made in China.

That’s right. In an art gallery owned by an artist in the French Quarter, I found lampwork beads made in China. A whole giant display of them. It’s an art gallery! Not a bead store (which by the way I have no problem with beads stores carrying mass produced lampwork), but an honest to goodness artist owned gallery. Btw, there were other mass produced things there too, so this isn’t just me being sensitive about beads, that was just the first thing I noticed, being a beadmaker and all. Needless to say, that artist’s work will never being gracing our house. Sad really.

Look, I understand the need to turn a profit, but there has to be better way. There are millions of artist out there. Is it really to crazy to think they couldn’t have found lower end, hand crafted items that could turn around quickly. Have they never heard of

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, but when we used to travel a lot, it wasn’t unusual for us to buy our souvenir at a gallery, even if that piece wasn’t from the area. It holds meaning and every time we see the piece we remember the trip. I think I just outed myself as a bit of a snob with that last line. I suppose cheap mass produced items could hold the same memories.  Though I have trouble seeing how a ceramic moose would ever remind anyone of the French Quarter.

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