Please welcome new columnist Laurie White to Try Handmade. She’ll be writing two times per month on great handmade goodies for pets. They deserve greatness too! Laurie also writes at LaurieWrites and BlogHer.
Do you have any questions about where to find great pet items? Looking for something in particular? Leave her a comment and maybe she can help you out![hLaurie]
I’m happy to join Try Handmade to share the best handcrafted goods for the animals who share our lives and homes.
The American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans will spend approximately $45.4 BILLION on products for their pets in 2009 alone, a $2.2 billion increase over 2008. $45.4 billion, yes. This might seem shocking in tough economic times, but a look around at the people in my life and in the wider world shows that no matter what corners get cut, pets still occupy a special place in our hearts – and apparently our budgets.
Pet owners who care about quality and crafts can surely spare more than a few pennies of those billions for locally made, handcrafted items, and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you each week.
I’m already kicking things off with words, so I thought I’d throw in my second favorite – pictures. Pets are second only to children perhaps in photo subject popularity. Before my dog died last year, he was my most frequent subject, and I never tired of practicing my portrait photography skills on him, whether he cooperated or not. (Hence all the pictures I have of him sleeping.)
Photos are the basis for some of the coolest DIY projects, either on their own or incorporated with other media. The only requirements, in most cases, are a decent printer, a little ingenuity and some time – and a frame or two. If you don’t have any of the above (especially the time) but you do have some pictures you can provide, a handcrafter can step in and help you out.
Quilts by Janice [missing-shop] will transfer your favorite pet photograph onto a nifty fabric post card.
Cam Wilson of San Francisco offers cool copper photo albums especially for pets on Uncommon Goods.
Even when the pet isn’t yours, many fun and inspiring photos featuring animals are worth owning or giving as a gift.
Sharon Montrose‘s subjects include a wallaby, a baby deer, some very sweet bunnies and a basset hound. Cute, for sure, but also strikingly composed on surprisingly effective neutral backgrounds.
Laura Johnston of Animal Art by Laura Johnston makes beautiful pet portraits on cotton paper with archival inks.
Lori Lee Sampson of Starglow Studios is running a Mother’s Day special on sweet black and white pet portraits from a photo you provide. The art is delivered as an e-mail file that you can turn into anything – a print, a Web design component, or something more complex like wearable art or home decor.
Peggitha‘s commissioned pet portraits are vibrant watercolors from your own favorite photos.
You supply the photos to Little Boy Blue by JC Lange and she will create a colorful and creative mixed-media collage.
Ok, I’ll stop there – but I hope you won’t. Dig through your pet photos, find a few favorites, and imagine the possibilities. It’s an easy, meaningful, potentially whimsical keepsake or gift waiting to happen.