Favorite Handmade Item – Angela Williams

Sometimes people fritter in and out of your life and you never really think about it – you never really think about how you FIRST met that person, how you continued to meet that person, and then, how that person just became a consistent fixture in your life. And then, on days like today, when you’re writing up the handmade feature post from one of them, you look back, and you realize – thank the gods that happened man! Because, where would I be without Angela in my life! The stories are numerous;  I could wax on about cult gossip and the small house movement, Farmer’s Markets and living on a bus, Love parties and adorable hair dye jobs, and let’s not forget NIA . . . but instead I’ll simply focus on the amazing smile, the belly laugh, the nurturing heart, and our friendship.

I’ll also point out that we’re super stoked for Angela to start teaching Nia RIGHT NEXT DOOR at KMB Studio on Wednesday evenings!

Without further ado . . .

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Angela (on the right) and her partner in crime Elizabeth

I absolutely love buying handmade. I love to think about the time and energy of the artist that goes in to every piece. I like to know that there is a story, a thought, a moment of creative excitement that went into making the item. For me, handmade goods are tiny pieces of the crafter’s vision, story and love.
image1My very favorite handmade item is a heart shaped box crafted by my Grandpa, Jim Williams, in ~1942, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My grandfather was a Marine stationed at Pearl Harbor after the bombing to help with the clean-up. During that time, he found some wood from a ship that was bombed and crafted an amazing gift for his wife, my precious Grandma, Mary Williams.
This box is beautiful. The wood is a dark teak and has a very distinct grain pattern. My Grandpa cut it from one piece of wood so the grain matches all the way around the box, including the lid (I don’t know woodworking and don’t know how this is done, but it is lovely). The lid has a tiny beveled edge so it has a nice, tight fit and then he lined it with velvet! I really love that. It is a tiny, thoughtful detail that would protect my Grandma’s precious trinkets that she would place in this box. His skill as a woodworker is so beautifully demonstrated in this tiny heart.
This is my favorite handmade item because of the skill, thoughtfulness and love that went in to creating it.  It is an amazing piece of history, part of a love story from WWII that continued throughout my grandparent’s entire lives together (and beyond, I would guess). This tiny piece of art is a lovely example of my Grandpa’s artist soul, his sensitive attention to detail and his crazy love for my Grandma.
image2My Grandma did not have a lot of knick-knacks or art work in her house, but this is one of the few items she kept and cherished.  When she passed it down to me, I could sense how important it was and how sharing this handmade item was sharing a piece of her history, his history, my history.  It is a symbol of my Grandpa’s love, his time, his thoughtfulness, his artistic soul, and his outstanding skill. It is a beautiful reminder of how something hand made with love will be an everlasting piece art and piece of the crafter.
Now, when I am searching for new things to buy,  my standard is pretty high. I know that my new necklace created by a local Bloomington artist wasn’t crafted for me like my grandma’s box was crafted for her, but I still seek to sense the care, skill, and love that goes into a piece. I believe when an artist puts those things into their work, it can be felt. That is why I buy handmade~the love.
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