Jan 23, 2009

all sorts of local : Pia Skaarer-Nielsen's contribution to the Panel Discussion at the Launch

Hi All, here is my statement from Saturday, I would like to thank as I did then all the producers of good and healthy food, right from the farm, from the market or enjoyed at a restaurant for all the good work that they do. It is a special to eat local good food. And next, my statement as an artist and a fellow producer of other goods, all woven and felted.
(The photo at the right is of the beautiful fiber Pia created for us to use in the "ribbon cutting" during the Buy Local Challenge Launch - DLF)

Living where we do, gives us rich possibilities not only for supporting the local food growers and gain more awareness about good living and eating habits.
There is another very important side of this equation and it has to do with the creativity and energy of all the many artisans and hand crafters whom we are surrounded by in this part of the world.

If one wanted to really take on the buy local challenge I would like to make everyone aware that we have an ample chance here, in this town, in this valley, in this province to get all our needs for 'stuff' covered by local 'producers' .
On a single day at the market you are able to fulfill your dreams and needs with anything from water fountains to nose warmers – yes, nose warmers!
We have people designing and sewing clothes here, putting together outdoor benches of recycled wood and soft and smooth wooden indoor furniture, there are blankets and wraps for getting dressed up, yarn from local sheep to knit your own winter socks – all grown, nurtured and sold here – recently I even met a shoemaker at the market – a candle maker is also around, with beautiful bees wax candles, there are lavender oils and cd's by local musicians – in fact you actually have all the essentials for a comfortable and delightful life.
Granted there are times when you do have to pay a little more for the very personal expertise that artisans put into their work and pieces, however, their aim is for you to have your purchases for years and years to come, not for your special buy to be obsolete by the end of the season or this year's fashion trend.
There are other places to support your local artisans. When we chat with you and hand you our business card, hold on to it and give us a call. It is not necessary to only come see us at the market. Many of us have studios where we work, some of us you can drop in on, others prefer to get a call, and none of us will turn you away if you are on a serious mission for finding a special gift for yourself or someone you love. Place a special commission, conspire with the artisan to have your dreams and wishes come true in a piece which you have dreamt of for years.
If you don't fancy going out into studios but prefer to buy in 'public' spaces, there are plenty of very well reputed galleries around in any small town you come through here in NS. The local artisans have their wares for sale there, and while you won't have a chance to talk to the person with the hands who did the creation, at least you will be able to talk to a gallery owner or manager who is proud and excited to represent the artists whose work is exhibited in their gallery.
We would love to not have to rely so hard on the tourist season being up to everyone's expectations – we would love to see that a bigger portion of our yearly income, however big or small, would come from people with whom we share our communities – purchasing locally produced hand work and art makes sense as much as buying locally produced beef and vegetables. When we support local production of any kind we help keep our communities vibrant and self sustaining.

Remember not only art or hand made work from away is exciting – look at Nistal's beautiful sculptures at Harvest Gallery in Wolfville and feel the thrill.

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