On My Radar: Handmade Primitive, Rustic & Weird Things

First, let me say I do love pretty things. Both my store and home have items of conventional beauty and classic design. But I am also drawn like a moth to a flame to handmade things that are primitivehomely and even weird. They intrigue me.

My only criteria, they have to be HONEST. I see a lot of fake primitive things that are churned out in China–the slapped together wood box with faux distressing or the metal signs that have been “aged” with special paint. I am not interested in these.

Here are some of the honest things that did interest me…

My oldest daughter looked at this when I pulled it out of the bag and shook her head in a “What were you thinking?” manner. But this mid-century fat lava candlestick (handmade in Iceland!) is so deliciously weird with its dark, autumnal, drippy glaze and rough, jagged bumps that I was riveted to it.


I adored this wacky bird figurine. It took a while to find the right buyer, but I always thought it was pretty cool. (Paid $4.50, sold for $40.)


This small handmade pottery “alien” vase barely took a minute to sell. (Bought for $1.79, sold for $25.)


This homely pottery bell figurine from Puerto Rico sold in a day. (Paid $2.00, sold for $17.00)


Here’s my latest bit of pottery weirdness. I have this little vase/cup thingy on my coffee table right now.


This handmade primitive wood box was one favorite vacation finds from a few years ago. I had in my store for a while and then took it out because I’m not ready to part with it yet!


When I spotted these handmade tobacciana wood sneakers in a thrift store, I thought they were amazing and ironic. I mean wood sneakers as ashtrays and cigarette holders?! Hoping somebody else likes their weirdness. 🙂


I bought this rustic handmade willow child’s chair at an estate sale. Loved it, but it was a pain to ship when it sold! (Bought $3, sold for $30.) Oddly, the buyer wanted me to personalize the chair by painting a name on it. I had a heck of a time trying to convince her that I don’t offer that service. Because she was buying it on Etsy I think she made some assumptions.


But I have to share that I have had a few duds too. Things that just didn’t capture anyone’s heart. These weird artisan ceramic plates hang around in my store for years and I only sold one to a friend. I finally (and sadly) decided to donate the rest a few months ago.


In general though I find that handmade rustic, primitive and weird things sell. Sometimes not quickly, but eventually (95% of the time!) the right person comes along. So I keep them on my radar…always.

What’s on your radar?

Happy hunting,



  1. Oh yes, rustic weird sells well. An aluminum woodpecker that was weather aged sold in a couple of days. I like pretty or well loved, but weird is my favorite. Since I don’t have an Etsy shop yet, I typically keep that stuff, but I’m glad there is a market for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE your Icelandic candle holder 🙂
    And I share your “disdain” for fake rustic / distressed / vintage and the like… if you like vintage or weird you want the real thing not a mass produced stuff made to look the part 😉
    I have a few weird things, mostly not listed yet.
    Not sure but I m under the impression that US sellers have some edge on etsy at the moment due to their latest changes, so sales are sluggish on that platform.
    Quirky, weird or (real) old gets my attention 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gabriella. Yes, isn’t that candleholder fabulous!! I need to dig it out of storage and get it on our mantel.

      Hope you will list some of your weird stuff. Would love to see it. (I’m always a bit envious of sellers who live in countries that have been around for centuries and have access to seriously old weird stuff.)

      You could be right about the Etsy changes affecting non-US sellers more. My sales have picked up, though not as strong as I’d like. :\

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The candleholder would look fabulous on the mantelpiece – very hygge 🙂
        I hope your sales will improve with November approaching and the holiday season kicking in!


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