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Made by Hand

Treeclock-Anisa Raoof-1The recent toy recalls and controversy over the lack of quality control in China has reinforced my interest in knowing who is making what I buy — whether it is toys or clothes.

This subject is dear to me since I made my living as an artist and craftsperson before I had kids. Although I started making things as soon as I was old enough to use a pair of scissors and hold a glue stick, I started selling my work once out of college under the ANISAdesigns label – first a line of wire jewelry and later handcrafted metal clocks (pictured) and other home accessories. I sold my work at retail craft fairs and through shops, galleries, and museum stores. In addition, I co-ran the Providence Craft Show, jurying artists and craftsmen from around the country eager to sell their work here. Over the years I have been fortunate to meet a vast number of people who make their living in this way. The art I have collected over the years — from jewelry and dishes to the artwork displayed on my walls — means more when I know who made it.

Learning the inspiration or process behind the work or about the artists themselves are stories we can share with our children. By retelling these stories about people and their craft, rather than opening a toy from an impersonal factory far away, I hope to teach my children the value of what gets made by hand while fostering their own creative juices.

Made by Hand will be an ongoing series where I highlight different artists and their work from Rhode Island and beyond. I will introduce you to a world of handcrafted works for both kids and adults – from toys, books, jewelry, art, food and more.

Here are a few handcrafted favorites I own:
– My morning coffee mug by James Guggina
– Bumpy ring by Dahlia Kanner
– Earrings by Micki Whelan
– Velvet Scarf by Underground Velvet
– Checkbook cover by Red Chair Studio
– Lamp in living room by Galbraith and Paul
– Photo frame by Karen Krieger
– Animal Silk-Screened Print in boys’ room by Connie Barbour
– Baby Book and Photo Albums by Rag and Bone Bindery

Find your own favorites at the RISD Alumni Sale this weekend. See Rag & Bone Bindery, Dahlia Kanner and more on Saturday, October 6, 10 am – 4 pm. Benefit Street (between Waterman and College Street), Providence, RI.

Tree of Life Clock by Anisa Raoof © 1996, ANISAdesigns

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