Yes in deed the Holidays are just around the proverbial corner. That thought alone can strike fear in the heart of any brave gift giver's soul!! It's also means it's time for my yearly period of indecisiveness!! :( Oh you guys know what I'm talking about. What can I purchase, make or donate that Aunt Herminie hasn't got,will like, or doesn't shove back & forget in the dreaded black hole of the gift closet??? There have been years that I have even started a gift project only to abandon it. There's nothing like Cousin Barfy making fun of the lady in the checkout line who is wearing a jacket that looks just like the one you are making her!!! Okay next idea.....
Remember not to many years ago when they stared the give a gift to a charity in the giftee's name?? It never has caught on with the masses. Maybe partly because come the holiday morning everyone is sitting around a naked tree with nothing to tear wrapping paper off of. And tell me what family is getting up at O dark:30 to sit around opening little donated in your name cards, and squealing Ohhhhhhhhh I Loooooove it!!!!!!!! How did you know??????????
Well this year I have found a cure to all these stresses. So I thought I would share this miraculous cure with my Bloglandian family!!!!! There is a young peace corp couple that is working in the hill country of Guatemala. One of the projects started to help the indigenous Mayan women/artisans in the local villages to become financial stable. For hundreds of years the Mayan women have had the reputation for creating beautiful needle work that is rouged enough for daily life. These Kindred Sisters, like us find the overwhelming need to create art in order to keep their souls alive :) For many years as so often happens these women artists have been shamefully exploited in the matter of payment. We all know the stories the artist is payed pennies only to have the dealers get rich by selling the art for 400 times what they payed. :( After years of this goes on the artist is placed in the position of excepting the arrangement with the thought that some money is better then none. So that they are always struggling to keep their families alive.
Okay so back to holiday gifts. This Peace Corp couple have helped the Mayan women create an artisan coop, to create and market their amazingly beautiful tote bags. Now mind you these are the bags that for over a thousand years have been used to carry everything from a small pinch of herb to enormous loads of firewood.
It's a well know statistic that many indigenous coops have varying degrees of success. There are any number of reasons, but one of the biggest is finding a market for the art work. And nearly 95% of the time the market is not in their area,state or even country. Any of us that sell our art know exactly how crucial that is. You also know how devastating it can be to have to compete against the dealers with the money and advertising budgets that can make their artists household names. These two factors are a huge reason why the coops slowly, painfully perish.
Armed with this knowledge the PC couple helped the women established a store for on ETSY
With an ETSY store they can reach around the world and sell their creations without being exploited by the dealers of the "Developed" part of the world!! This also makes it soooooo perfect for us to step in and show our support for our Kindred Sisters. Before you zip over to their store to do your holiday shopping I have a couple of pictures of their bags. BUT let me warn you right up front go get your hankies right now. Why??? Well each bag is presented by it's creating artist. Each beautiful artist's face reflects the pure pride and joy they have for their work. You can see that what so many of us are searching for they have already found. The peace that comes with letting you soul fly free. And boy oh boy if that alone doesn't make a grown artist eyes leak nothing ever will!!!!!
The bags are different sizes from small to huge. I'm sure that they would be willing to make a special size to order for you, if they don't have what you want. They start at $15.00US for the small bags (perfect for a day purse or portable project bag) up to 21"/21" for $35.00 big enough to haul your studio in!! :) Yep those are DARN cheap prices for amazing hand work. Of course it's a huge increase in the amount they were being payed by the dealers. Except for a small coop membership fee the artists keeps all of the money they earn. Wow, what a novel idea.
I know I already have a looong (hopefully not to boring) posting, so if you are tired of reading I'll understand if you just head over to ETSY now. But sometimes you got to be a bit chatty especially when it comes to lending a hand to fellow kindred spirits.
Okay we have pretty much covered everything but shipping cost. I want to hopefully explain a couple of things so you aren't surprised when you get there. I'm sure by now you all know that one of my favorite phrases is : "Even Paradise isn't perfect" referring of course to the lack of mail service we have. :( And what we do have is horrendously expensive. Well the same is true of all of Central America. Historically when indigenous artists go through a import/export representative the cost of covering shipping and customs is always given as the reason they get payed so little for their art. Then when the art reaches the States the buyer is given the same story. You have to pay more because of the cost to import. hmmmmm if both the seller and the buyer are paying the shipping then where is the extra money going???.... ya right....
Now are you beginning to understand why the coop has kept their prices low?? The artists realize that in order for us to purchase their art the shipping cost for us ends up being high. Although trust me they are not as high as they are for LW and I. Heck not when it cost us $40US to send Mette's little wedding journal to the States!!! So I want you to plan on paying around $40US for the medium size bag including shipping. Jeez that's still a great price for an incredible handstiched art bag. :). And $15-20.00 for shipping is darn good.
I think I better let you guys go do a bit of holiday shopping along with expressing your admiration to some of our most remarkable kindred sisters. But let this be fair warning, you better get a move on cuz LW and I are doing our Christmas shopping after dinner :)
Oh so you don't have to wade all the way back upstream to find the ETSY link just tap your heels three times & give this picture a bit of a tap and off you go....