Functional Art – A Purposeful Plan to Pursue

September 25, 2010

Brazilian Filet Lace

It is interesting how many of the buying public gravitate to handmade art pieces often from other places. Folk Art and other indigenous art forms—often functional in nature, are very popular. The more we move into the technological age the more we seem to gravitate to having handmade things in our personal environment.

When we travel, we can’t get enough of it. However, we don’t cultivate this in our own country. There are a few fine artists in the fabric of artists threading through our country who command tremendous attention and profits for their creations, others eking out a living at art shows around the country, and some entering the global exposure of marketing through the internet.

Sure, some kids learn to knit or crochet, but not in great numbers that would constitute an industry. We are the industrialized nation—and move in the stream of invention and creativity that speeds through our multi-dimensional technological world. We have lead the way. In so doing, we have abandoned the traditions or creating functional art. Yet, so many of these handmade items bring handsome price tags in our market.

These Brazilian Filet Lace table toppers arrive tailored in useful sizes for table cloths and table runners. If rinsed of the rigid starch, they can be used as shawls and scarves. Dual purpose for these colorful, versatile, functional art pieces. Having never been to the beaches that are dotted with the communities that continue this beautiful fiber art tradition, we receive them after at least one other layer of mark-up. Many items that filter into our marketplace from around the world pass through many hands and many layers of pricing.

It is with this in mind that it seems that cultivating an environment of respect and appreciation for functional art in many forms could be profitable enterprise if marketed directly without the many layers of handling and pricing. Cooperative gatherings of artisans bring pride to a community and profits to the people. This seems a purposeful plan to pursue.

It might sounds like a program to cut-out the middle man—and perhaps it will carve out new niches of navigating this world of commerce where more often producers/artists offer their work directly to the public or at the very least though an outlet/gallery/co-op internet site that directly represents them and their work.

At PATRICIAN DESIGN we continue to support local artists along with handmade items from elsewhere and even complimentary production pieces. This combination allows us to observe the interests and priorities of our market and make recommendations to our local artists for additions to their collections or modifications to their offerings. We often come across things and remark that we wish someone locally were doing this work. With enthusiasm for the opportunities and positive results from the efforts, the pursuit of finding our roots in functional art and the creation of new traditions will bring satisfaction, pride and profit.


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