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Craftivism & Small Business Saturday

Every year, about this time I write a blog post promoting small business Saturday and why everyone should shop local, shop small, and shop handmade. This year, I thought I'd change it up a bit. If you have looked at my calender of events, you know that I will be at historic Savage Mill tomorrow for the Yultide Maker's Market. And while I love Savage Mill for their dedication and commitment to the "maker", we often forget the importance of the Mill's history and why the makers are given the opportunities to sell their handmade products here at the Mill.

Many know Savage Mill as a local Mill town that spun cotton into duck canvas that was used for ships sails and soldier's tents. But shortly after World War II, the Mill closed due to a low demand on product, and shortly thereafter, businessman Harry Heim reopened the Mill as a year round Christmas ornament factory. Harry Heim soon made the Mill a destination stop for thousands of visitors and shoppers in the DelMarVa area; helping to give the Mill and the town economic growth and prosperity. You can read more about the history of the Mill

Having said all that, there is a reason why it's important to highlight the history of Savage Mill. Last year as I was finishing up graduate school, I wrote my major paper for my Master's degree on Craftivism. (And yes, Craftivism is just what it sounds like, changing the world through creativity. In this case, the creativity is crafts, and the social justice cause is economic growth). And one of the reoccuring themes that kept coming up in my research is history's repetitive nature. As a side note, and example, craftivism can be found dating all the way back to the Underground Railroad, when women made quilts and the quilt blocks were used as an "unwritten language" to tell runaway slaves directions and/or if they could use the house a "safe house" for a meal and a place to rest. And many of those same quilt blocks are incorporated in today's quilts.

Wait for it! Here's the long winded small business Saturday craftivism connection: Just like Harry Heim used the Mill to make and sell Christmas ornaments and was able to make an impact on Savage Mills local economy, today, the Mill has created the Santa Heim Yultide Maker's market which is used to promote and help local handmade business sell their products and in turn creating economic grown for Savage Mill and it's surrounding area.

It's tough out there...with rising costs and inflation effecting everyone, come out tomorrow, spend some time at Savage Mill, they have great resturants, shop small and shop local! It's a win win for everyone!

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