There seems to be a return to American made and especially, artisan made. Boutique owner and artist Michele Escude says she knows why. “People are taking time to notice details and buy quality,” she says. The level she refers to can be seen in the clothing, jewelry, serving pieces and glass work found in her store, circa. URBAN ARTISAN LIVING. “The younger generation has a need to be more authentic.”

Escude believes that shoppers are not only realizing the value of artisan made but the quality. “When you really look at the cost, it’s not that much different to buy a piece that will last. You’re getting something you will cherish.”

In a world that strives for individuality, artisan made is a chance to be different. Escude says there’s no matching set. To be individual, one should seek out pieces that are one-of-a-kind. “It’s celebrated these days to show your individual personality through clothing and the items in your home.”

There’s another reason to notice artisan made: the increase in those creating works as a way to make a living. Escude says people are leaving corporate careers and realizing a more authentic life is more important than making the big dollars. “They’ve checked that off their list,” she says “and are now making living out of doing something they love.” Escude sees it locally, but on a national level, too. “I’m in the position to talk to artists from all over. I have one, an incredible jeweler, who left the corporate banking world. That wasn’t the life she wanted.”

The question, she says, has to be, ‘what ultimately will bring happiness?’ “If you can make a living out of using your talents, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Her store, open since the fall of 2010, sees returning customers who want to share the artisan made lifestyle with their friends and families. “They want to give a piece of uniqueness to the people they love,” she says.

Artisan made is nothing new for Escude, a designer and painter in her own right. Living her life based on a simplistic, true and unique way, she and husband Craig, married 22 years, extended their passion to the opening of their store. “We live this way, surrounded by others who do the same.”

Escude says she appreciates when an artist can think outside the box. “When they take something so simple, yet make it amazing? I love it.”

What advice does she have for those who want to strike out on the artisan path? “Start at home with your own life,” she advises. “We all have hobbies, but if you find something you love as a hobby and it haunts you, think, how can I make a living from this?” Try your art for friends and family. “Are you tired of it yet?” She says if not, you may be on to something. In simplest terms, the advice she gives is to ‘just keep doing it.’ “The reward comes if you can leave the day to day grind behind and pursue something you love.”

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