Artisans are difficult to judge until you try to make one yourself. Theoretically, the ability to cast your own caps means you’re never at a loss when you get the odd board that requires some goofy configuration that nobody supports for cap GBs, so there’s the practical impetus for trying your hand at it.
So far as I can tell, most artisan collectors aren’t planning on ever putting their artisans on a board. Max, they might have one or two carefully matched for colorway, but the vast majority go straight into an Evil Box and are sorted by maker.
Also, from where I stand on the sideline, it appears that every collector spends a lot of time making friends with other collectors. It’s not about buying, selling, or flipping, it’s about trading.
And, nobody ever starts in with artisans trying to acquire everything. It’s always a case of, “man, these things are so dumb, but THAT one RIGHT there is super cool, and I totally want it, here’s my money.” It’s a slippery slope from there.
And, they are pretty, sorted for color and maker, each one made by hand with skill. To really see what’s going on you kind of need a magnifying glass or a jewelers loupe.
I’m not into it. But I get it.
FWIW, I have one artisan on my main board, and it was made by my son. It is from when he first started making them, he hated his first design and so far as I know, he only made two and I asked for the second. To me, artisans are much more about the personal relationships I’ve made than the actual object. More like individual tokens of esteem.