I recently stopped at a local "Country Gift Shop" that was new to the area that I live. It is an area that has gotten thousands of taxpayer money to create a rails to trails bicycle pathway through beautiful scenic mountains. An Area that is promoting itself as "Pennsylvania Wilds."
Since I make a variety of homemade items, that are rather unique. I have been making the rounds of the local gift shops to see if I can place a few of theses items in their shops.
What is amazing, is not one of the local shops sell local arts and crafts! They all look like cookie cutters of each other, and exactly like what you can find in any mall across America. They all have cookie cutter patchworks done in shades of browns and greens, created in the Philippines, or China. Nothing produced locally. They are are scented with candles made in another country.
What Country are we decorating from? I will be truthful...most of the stuff in these places neither look artistic, nor real. If you place them in a home, it doesn't say, I love my country, and it's rich history, it says "Look, I can get hoodwinked by local merchandisers!"
Seek out your local artisans. Support the shops that support local craft people. Put down that punched tin ornament made in China, and go find the real thing! It is worth the effort.
Oh, and if you are curious, here is where my Central Pennsylvanian crafts can be found. It certainly isn't here in Central Pennsylvania. http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyPA