What is Artisan Home Décor?

I’ve been a lifestyle blogger focusing on sustainable fashion and décor for many years now—actually my love of mindfully made goods is one of the reasons I was so passionate about launching wallflower. While crafts and handmade goods have always been available for us to enjoy—remember, there was a time before everything was mass produced—I’ve definitely noticed just how buzzy terms like “artisan-made” and “small batch” have become. And thank goodness! It’s so refreshing to see more slow-made, handcrafted products that can contribute to a more sustainable home in a beautiful, inspiring way.  

wallflower spring ~ colorful blockprint cloth napkins with maximalist prints

But what’s so special about something that’s made by artisans, versus simply sustainably or ethically produced?

Common artisan home décor products include handmade baskets, linens and textiles such as throw blankets and pillows, napkins and tablecloths, and much more. And while anyone could add the “artisan” label to their products to make them appear handcrafted, authentic artisan home décor is typically made by hand or in small batches by skilled craftspeople. An artisan can be any talented maker from around the world, though the term is most often used to define a product that has been produced by artists using time-honored techniques—ranging anywhere from weaving to embroidery to block printing and so much more—that have been honed by that individual’s local community over generations. For example, our blockprint napkins come from an artisan business in Rajasthan that employs block printing and textile making techniques that have been practiced throughout India for at least 2,000 years.

Where To Find Artisan Home Décor

You can likely source authentic artisan home décor from so many places both online and locally in your area—no matter where you are! Here are a few of our favorite ways to find unique goods and gifts in this category to get you started:

Our Shop

We launched wallflower after about ten years of writing about or collaborating with other creatives and makers in many different capacities. Our passion for small batch and ethically sourced décor and gifts have influenced our careers, side hustles, and hobbies over the years. Our boutique is our personal way of celebrating some of those creatives and the techniques we love most. We truly love helping other people discover new-to-them independent designers and artists around the globe—it not only inspires people to live more creatively but to shop with intention! 

Wallflower is a growing brand, but for now we offer a handful of home décor, as well as small batch accessories, lifestyle goods, stationery, and gifts, from over 40 vendors based all over the world. Here are a few of our favorite artisan décor pieces currently stocked in our shop: 

Our hand block printed napkins

Dreamscape handwoven basket 

U-shaped candle holders

Local Markets 

Don’t forget to look local when it comes to finding one-of-a-kind home products. It’s a fun and sustainable way to support your community. Whether it’s a craft market like Renegade Craft Fair, West Coast Craft, or Crafty Wonderland, or a local flea market (we love both the Portland Flea Market and Seattle Flea here in the PNW), there are many ways to source global artisan décor locally. 

Visiting craft markets is also a great idea when traveling! There you’ll find items you’d never otherwise come across—it’s the best (and much less cheesy) kind of souvenir gift. When planning travel, be sure to research shops in the area and markets going on during your travel dates. If you’re visiting a completely new-to-you area, it’s a good idea not only visit their local markets, but spend some time researching the types of goods they offer and history behind them (more on that below). 

Vintage Stores

A quick Google search will return a list of your region’s thrift and vintage shops. Check out search results as well as blogs on the topic (we’ve listed our favorite Portland vintage shops here, for example), and Geotags and location-based hashtags on Instagram to find hidden gems. I like to start a Yelp collection for each city I shop in that way I can always sort by distance and see if I’m near any boutiques that may have vintage clothing, artisan homewares, and unique gifts. These days, a lot of brick and mortar stores will share both vintage and curated new goods, so there’s a bit of something for everyone. 

No matter where you decide to look for décor, whether vintage or modern, it’s important to get to know the techniques behind the products that catch your eye. Growing up as a big DIYer and lover of thrift shopping, I’ve always had an appreciation for all things handmade and vintage. I’ve always been drawn to a few crafts in particular: textile and basket weaving, ceramics, block printing, natural dyeing, and embroidery are just a few. My love of those have led me to learn more about how certain artistry has been used throughout history and their modern day applications. 

Getting to know what goes into an object or ware offers a deeper appreciation of the finished product and the person or people behind it. Take time to learn about and explore the crafts you’re drawn to—it will help you not only learn the difference between artisan, handmade, (or “slow” made) and mass-produced, new or secondhand, but open you to a whole new world of creativity.

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