Giving Thanks for Small Things November 25 2011, 0 Comments

Our booth at the SF Women's Expo HAND/EYE Magazine

As the holidays quickly approach I wanted to take a minute to be thankful for the year that has flown by. We have received so much support for our website collection12 Small Things by HAND/EYE, showcasing the work of artisans around the world. From neighborhood street fairs in rain or shine (many in the rain), to trunk shows at local businesses and friend’s homes, to events like the Green Festival and Women’s Expo, I have had so many people express their interest for the work we are doing to help artisans in need around the world.

This season, with the additional support of my partners at By Hand Consulting and HAND/EYE Magazine, I have even more help in sourcing unique product and spreading the word about our collection. Karen Gibbs and Colvin English from ByHand Consulting, have selected this season’s wonderful gifts with great care for the artisan’s work and a discerning style that compliments this fall holiday season. Keith Recker and his writers at HAND/EYE Magazine do an amazing job of bringing the work and stories of so many talented artisans around the world, to readers through their printed and online magazine publication, weekly emails and blog.

This past month they featured our artisans from: Casa de los Gigantes in Guatemala who make our beautifully carved serving spoons from the roots of coffee bushes, Mitra Bali working with small handcraft producers in Indonesia who make our oversized ceramic cups, Hanoi-based Craft Link working with the Vietnamese artisans who produced our ceramic tea set, Swahili Imports, whose artists in Mozambique produce our ebony jewelry collection and the Snow Leopard Trust, whose craftspeople make our adorable baby booties. The work these and other organizations are doing around the world to help support craftspeople and their families in some of the most challenging parts of the planet, is truly inspiring. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already for both HAND/EYE Magazine‘s online and printed publication as well; a work of art in itself that makes a great gift for someone who loves handmade crafts from around the world.

Green Festival, SF

 

I am also thankful for all the other fair trade vendors I’ve met through the shows I’ve been doing this fall. While not always financially productive, due to overhead costs, bad weather and still a shaky economy, I’ve learned so much through these venues about sharing common values and finding like minds with fellow merchants and loyal customers. It’s so nice to have people recognize us and share how they first discovered our website. One customer I met at the Green Festival recounted how she was hesitant to buy anything new in this economy, remembering how she and her sisters used to get excited about receiving hand-me-downs from their neighbors every year as their children grew up. It didn’t matter if the clothes were used, they were new to her. In this country, we have grown used to buying new clothes and household goods as a matter of routine, not realizing how most of the world is forced to get by with so little.
Thankful for family

While I am so very grateful to live where we do with a roof over my head and the means to provide for our family, I am often thinking of those in the world who live with so much less. Showcasing and selling the beautiful work of artisans around the world who need markets outside their communities in order to provide for their families, is one small way I can help. With gift-giving season upon us once again, the opportunity to give more with our purchases, is right within our reach. Happy holidays and thank you all again for supporting 12 Small Things by HAND/EYE.