( Column 8 / 2002)

"The Lost Valleys"...by...Ron Gladkowski

          "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
          Published in The County Review

"The Illusion of Value"

          Art can be collected, but are collectibles art?
          Are you a collector? Almost everyone has a collection of some sort. Whether the collection be a small group of things that you enjoy having, or rooms full of related items that virtually take over the house, we all collect something. Some people are collectors and collect a wide variety of things. which have included stuffed toys, fragrance bottles, and even model cars. So, what is all this talk about collectibles?
          Webster says that a Collectible is "An object that is collected by fanciers other than such traditionaly collected items as art, stamps, coins, and antiques." So, by definition, collectibles are something other than artwork.
          Marketing experts have found that, if they can create an illusion of value and make people believe that the future promises a great increase in demand for their product, they can awaken the greed that lies dormant within each of us. There IS money to be made in "Colletibles", but primarily by the manufacturers. Frequently, these manufactured products, are promoted as original art or craftwork. It's difficult to tell whether the product is a mass produced picture marketed as a "Print", a foreign made vase or bowl labeled "Hand Crafted", or glassware produced in a factory and then "Signed" by a company representative. If you don't know the artist that made it, or trust the shop that sells it then you can't be sure it is an original.
          So, if you would rather surround yourself with work that is really Handmade in America, become familiar with your local artists and get to know where you can purchase their work, shop at established art and craft galleries that feature hand made original work, and become familiar with web sites which feature reputable artists and craftsmen. On the website, www.lostvalleys.com, I have a list of links to local artist's web pages.

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