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Cynthia Sargent

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Home Decor, Inspiration

Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved going to the downtown library to wander the extensive magazine section.  I stopped by last Friday, and came home with a few issues of Modernism Magazine.  The Spring 2009 issue has a great biography of textile artist Cynthia Sargent.  Ms. Sargent and her husband, Wendell Riggs, moved to Mexico from the East Coast in the 1950s, and established a studio and factory.  She designed the rugs and fabrics, he handled the business aspect.

Her life story is fascinating and inspiring.  Ardis Berghoff’s article isn’t available online, so you’ll need to track down the Spring 2009 issue to read up on Ms. Sargent.  There are some beautiful photos of the rugs from the Riggs-Sargent family collection in the article.

The ebay seller Una Vida Moderna currently has a vintage rug for sale, in addition to a reproduction.  The reproductions aren’t authorized (there aren’t any authorized reproductions), but they are made in the same factory as her original work.

These handmade rugs rugs are just as beautiful close up.  Ms. Sargent wanted people to use her rugs, not just look at them, and I can only imagine how great it would feel to walk barefoot on one.

Images: Treadway/Toomey Gallery, Una Vida Moderna blog, Una Vida Moderna ebay store


1000 Markets

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Crafts


Have you heard about the new online marketplace for handmade goods?  1000 Markets had their official opening  last month but has had an online presence since September.  It’s been getting many comparisons to etsy, but 1000 Markets is setting itself apart in a big way: sellers need to be approved to sell in the marketplace.  On their website, they basically state that a seller needs to have her site ready to go in terms of appearance, and needs a minimum of six products to sell before a merchant’s site will go live.  In an interview with Techflash.com, 1000 Markets co-founder and CEO Matthew Trifiro says that “Etsy’s vast collection is actually problematic… Because there are so many products and merchants… it can be difficult to find what your are looking for. The quality suffers as a result.”  As someone who both buys and sells on etsy, I can see his point.  As a buyer, it can be difficult to search through all the listings for say, photographs (there were 1549 pages to search through last I checked).  This is also a problem with online shopping in general, but sometimes you just don’t know what you’re looking for until you see it.  The prospect of looking at over a thousand pages of merchandise gives me carpal tunnel just thinking about it.  As a seller, I can also see the advantage of selecting who gets to join a handmade marketplace; it can give the site a more legit handmade title (I’ve always wondered why etsy allows vintage items).  As I thought about the process of applying to and needing approval from 1000 Markets, I started to think about the value we place on things when we’re just given something, and when we work for it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I was very slow in actually starting my etsy site after I got the idea, and I still don’t have as many items up for sale as I’d like.  I don’t want to imply that I’m not responsible for that; but I can’t help wonder if I’d give my site more time if I’d had to prove myself just to get there.

I think it will be interesting to see how 1000 Markets sets itself apart from etsy, and to see how both buyers and sellers take to it.  Have you checked out 1000 Markets?  Do you think there’s room for another handmade marketplace on the web?

(Image from mattbites.com)