After reading that Jeff Koons has dropped his stupid balloon dog lawsuit, I feel inspired to call your attention to some really lovely work by extraordinarily talented people, none of whom have attempted to commandeer anything in the public domain. 

Check out Stone Soul Pottery for gorgeous ceramics by Crystal Bowers.  I’ve purchased several pieces, all based on photos alone, and in every case the piece was 100 times more wonderful in reality than on the screen.  Crystal also created a piece for me on commission.  It’s on her website in the “My Favorites” section, called “Paper Ships.”  It features words from my poetry and is one of the things I’d grab on my way out of my burning house.   

Etsy is an online site for handmade items, including art.  Personally I don’t purchase Mary Engelbreit-style things, and you’ll find those here, but you’ll also find stuff that’s really good and priced to buy in bulk.  Searching for treasure is all part of the fun.  I like this shawl, which is uptown enough to wear to work, but which still lets me get my Stevie Nicks on in the car on the way home. 

Another good site is Novica, which, in conjunction with National Geographic, aims to connect the world’s artisans with you and me.  I’m hoping my husband will buy me this vase for Valentine’s Day, although if he gets me a bunch of pink carnations again this year I’ll try to keep my spirits up. 

Finally, I love the Torpedo Factory  in Old Town Alexandria.  One of the artists there, Dawn Benedetto, makes fun, colorful glass and Lucite jewelry that she sells on her site, Poppishop.   She’s added some new items since I last visited, notably the Orion earrings, which I suspect will be gracing my lobes before long (just as soon as I can find that damn credit card?)  The Torpedo Factory also features artists working in glass, paint, ceramic, and fiber, and you can sometimes see them at work in their studios.  AND they offer classes to the talentless, like me. 

Art is not art because it’s been selected for museum exhibition.  Art is what communicates with the soul.  There are so many wonderful artists and artisans making beautiful things, and surprise!  You can afford them.  So buy.  Then we won’t run out of beautiful things.