16 Hands is a contemporary craft gallery in Ann Arbor, MI. They carry a wide variety of handmade items, both functional and decorative, as well as an amazing collection of artist-made jewelry. I worked there for about 12 years, and in that time had the chance to work with some truly talented people. Some were the artists and craftspeople we represented, others were the merchandise reps, owner and sales staff she employed. When people don’t have to pretend to love their work, but are actually propelled by their love of it – it shows. The promotion of something you love is easy, so with great stories about the process to make something, or the inspiration behind it, there’s always something to talk about.
When we’d travel to national shows to find new work, it was like total creative immersion. All around you is, at its best, the culmination of the creative spirit expressed through people from all walks of life, all using their particular skills to forge a living. A large part of my job at 16 Hands was to help them do that. What worked online works in person. The things people make have value, and one of my favorite things was to introduce our customers to the possibility of hand made. The story that went along with the item was always important. Put that together with an item in front of them that’s visually appealing, and you have something memorable. People got excited about giving American-made craft. And they should…can you blame them?
I still use the glassware by Fire & Light, and my salad servers by Jonathan Spoons all the time.
If you’d like to contact 16 Hands, they are online at: http://www.16handsgallery.com