Home Visits: Kim O'Brien August 06, 2014 06:00
Kim O'Brien is the lovely jewelry designer and maker behind K. O'Brien Jewelry. Over the years she has been one of our artists, as well as one of our most die hard shoppers. Not only does she shop herself, we've also had many other shoppers tell us that Kim had sent them to Craftland. When I started this feature I knew I'd have to ask Kim to be included so I could get a peek inside her home to see where all these lovely items now live.
Do you have a favorite item that you bought at Craftland?
This question is impossible to answer. I have so many favorite items I bought at Craftland from way back in the holiday pop up shop days up until about three days ago. Seeing that is over a decade of buying I will say that my favorite items are my first two purchases, a glitter belt from Red Thread Belting and button hair pins by The Littlest Bean. These first purchases started a collection from these two lovely makers and caused me to fall madly in love with Craftland. I guess it all started with glitter and buttons!
You're such a great shopper for gifts. Was there one gift in particular whose recipient was super happy?
There are many happy family members and friends who have received gifts from Craftland. (Me being one of them!) Crowns and Wands by Thimblewinder made my nieces delighted on their birthdays. I have gifted many felt flower bouquets by Kath Connolly and they were all well received. In fact, just the other day I saw a few I had given my aunt proudly displayed in her home. My parents have a small bouquet of them (which have survived seven grandchildren playing with them!) at the kitchen table. It is our gathering place and I just love seeing them there year after year as we meet for waffles and coffee. The next favorite gift is HeatherJeany's bike t-shirt. I bought four, one for each nephew at the time. The youngest is delighted to not have outgrown one yet as he keeps getting his brothers' shirts passed down to him.
Why is buying handmade important to you?
My favorite part about all of these purchases is they led me to collecting items from the small businesses. These collections may have started with a t-shirt, hair accessory or card I fell in love with. Once I get home with my new treasures I look up the artisan's website to learn more about the person behind the work, see what else they make and where they are making stuff. Often I have had the honor of meeting these makers in real life through Craftland parties, craft fairs, or starting a relationship on social media and planning a real life meet up. There are so many lovely makers I have met thanks to buying handmade. With most of them I have become fast friends and have loved seeing their craft expand as they explore new ideas, materials and methods of making. So, why is buying handmade important? Well, my handmade purchases support a maker, a person, someone with a vision and my support can help that artisan continue in their explorations and can help their business flourish and expand. Since most of my purchases have led to amazing friendships I can also throw all of the encouragement and enthusiasm at those makers that they can take and because they are such lovely people, they cheer me on just the same.