Made for Joy
Allow me to introduce you to a beloved member of our household: the Carrot of Joy. I wish I could claim credit for the fabulous moniker, but this particular carrot was named by its maker, a crafter here in Oregon who combines soft fleece, cotton batting, and a pinch or two of catnip to create toys that bring real joy – not only to cats, but also to humans who crave a bit of beauty in the toys that end up scattered all over the house. The Carrot of Joy came to live with us just a week after I arrived in Salem. One rainy afternoon, I pulled on my boots and walked over to the fairgrounds, where a huge crafters’ market was taking place. To be sure, I was shopping for holiday gifts and wanted to support the local economy. But I also wanted to meet the other makers in my new town – folks who had spent the past year sewing and painting, cooking and carving. Folks who had been slipping off to potting sheds and unheated garages and attic art studios to create things that make their own hearts sing. I wanted to thank all these neighbors who had hauled their creations to a frigid exhibit hall on a December Saturday in hopes of sharing beauty and joy with the community they loved. I’m pretty sure Blue would want me to tell you that this particular carrot has more than lived up to its name. I am also pleased to report that the Carrot of Joy still looks new, after three years of pummeling (which is more than I can say for many other toys that have come and gone!)
I will be shopping at craft fairs and small online shops this year, supporting as many artists and crafters as I can, and I hope you will, too. May your holiday gifting bring joy to your heart, to your community, and to all the ones you love.