Martha Stewart has been the butt of many a joke, and I'm not even talking about her brush with white collar crime. Say what you will about boner-killing homemade Christmas decorations, but the woman has done an incredible amount to keep Americans engaged in the making of physical objects with their hands, bridging the gap between the days when doing so was a matter of course and when DIY became cool again.
Stewart's now in the midst of something called the American Made Awards: "Martha and the editors of Martha Stewart Living magazine are searching for the rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners. Ten American Makers will be selected. Their work will share the quality, beauty, inspiration, possibility, and creativity embodied by Martha." The judges' top choice will be featured in the magazine, and—huzzah—nab $10k to further their endeavors. It's no surprise there's are Portlanders in the mix. Clothing designer Kate Towers, small batch ice creamer Ruby Jewel's Lisa Herlinger, textile/home goods designer Anna Joyce, and ceramicist Lisa Jones of Pigeon Toe are all finalists for the Audience Choice Award, so go vote. Who the ultimate winner is may be out of our hands, but presumably the judges will at least take into account the contestants' popularity with us plebes. Voting closes on Monday, but you can vote once a day, which means you can vote for one of them for each day left in the voting.