Most cultures are rich in craft skills. This has been my observation during my travelling over the past four decades. In the late 70’s, I had the joy of hosting a research officer from Created Gifts, a UK craft-marketing agency. While he was in a Pacific Island nation, we spent a few wonderful days travelling throughout the country. We had meetings with entrepreneurs engaged in producing and marketing a whole variety of craft items.
The aim was to choose those items that would be suitable for the company’s mail-order catalogues. These targeted the UK market. One of the challenges was finding items that would appeal to European taste. They also need to be practical to produce in quantity and freight over to the UK. Traditionally, in that country, craftsmen with expert skill would produce masterpieces of art in the area of wood carvings, etc. Each item may take weeks to perfect and then months to sell. Although wonderful as pieces of craft, they were not practical to promote in quantity through mail-order catalogues.
Encouraging the production of smaller items, with designs that would sell, was a challenging assignment. Once the company choose an item to market, then an agreement is made with the craftsman. He would produce a specified minimum quantity each month at a price for each item as agreed. The company would then ensure that payment would be deposited in the craftsman’s family bank account. The concept was sound and enabled craftsmen internationally to receive regular and assured income for their families.
Another excellent craft shop, Global Handicrafts, is probably the best I’ve ever seen. I was able to visit Global Handicrafts during a visit to Hong Kong.
Gogo Olive was set up in Mutare in the Eastern Highlands of Zimabwe in November 2008. The concept was to give local women the opportunity to use their craft skills to build a future for themselves and their families. Knitting was chosen as it only requires basic materials. It can be done anywhere and at any time. It is a skill that is practical for the women to learn. We began as a small group of 6 ladies. Following the success of this group, we have added to the numbers. We also introduced the group into a local prison. Over 25 women are now involved in Gogo Olive. Knitting the animals has become a part of the rehabilitation process for the women in prison. It gives them something positive to focus on. It also allows them to meet practical needs that they or their families have, both whilst they are in prison and after release.
Each animal is lovingly and completely handmade. It has as much individuality and character as the lady who knitted it!
Tannery Cottage Transformations
You will be fascinated by this creative concept. Do check out the website for Transformations listed below. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Hannah at a Craft Fair here in the UK. It is so encouraging to meet up with young entrepreneurs with vivacity and vision.
Treat your family and friends to a special gift from Thailand!
Tamar Cards offers a beautiful selection of Thai Style cards, bracelets and gift items for you to choose from.
These original designs feature rich colors and unique floral stylings that will add a touch of class to any occasion. Each card and gift item is hand-crafted by skilled Thai artisans using natural materials from Thailand.
Froukje Espeldoorn, from the Netherlands (Funqi), has designed the Friendship Bracelets to raise money for the Tamar Center. The entire proceeds will go towards the Tamar Center in Thailand.
The bracelet, a symbol of international friendship, is created by the women of the Tamar Center in Pattaya and consists of three strands, each made of glass beads in the colors silver and white.