Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More use of advanced illustration class skills

George and I are working on a graphic for the Puyallup 2016 Sewing Expo.  It's possible I may be a speaker (yeah!) and I need to send in a graphic for the catalog
 in case I get in.  

Update 17Nov15, I'm in!  I'll be teaching and have a booth. Look for the final image in the Expo catalog to find my class.

Ann Sagawa, my contact, suggested a combination of Paganoonoo pattern, starting shirts and finished garments.  Great idea!
George, with his extraordinary photography skills
captured all the elements.

However when the graphic is shrunk to the catalog size 
(smaller than this) the shirts get a bit lost.

So I decided to try an outline around the shirts and blouse.
which helps some... but still seems to blend in a bit too much.
So I thought a background from the opposite side of the color wheel might help.  It does, but is a bit too light.

So I darkened the background just to get the feel
of how it would look.  I also darkened the line around the pattern. I like it.  
Here is the whole progression.  The background probably would not have occurred to me without the training I received in Advanced Illustration last semester.

And yes, this is almost as much fun as coloring!

Here is the final version.  I printed all the elements out at the highest resolution possible.  I then cut out each item on the outside line.  Those images were positioned on a piece of blue wallpaper from FABMO (in addition to fabric they have wallpaper and tile samples). It was then scanned, turned into a jpeg, and then cropped.  

Hopefully Paganoonoo will be at Puyallup and I will meet you there in 2016!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Antoine, Guest Blogger from Vavavida, Artisan Sourced Jewelry

Being ethical is capital

Hi, my name is Antoine owner of Vavavida and I am honored to be able to share my story here. Michelle’s mission for social justice and passion for social entrepreneurship are very much aligned with mine. Both she and I work hard to bring you beautiful, fair and sustainable fashionable products with a story to tell.

Let me tell you the story of a girl I know. Sana is a young woman from a rural and very poor part of India. Being a woman in the rural, severely underprivileged northern part of India is difficult, to say the least.  India ranks 158th out of 168 countries on the gender equality index. 

For Sana growing up, opportunities were bleak so she left school and went to the city as a tween to work and help her family survive. She joined her father and a group of mostly female artisans in a metal casting workshop in the heart of Old Delhi and started working as a jewelry maker for local tradesmen. It’s a physically demanding and delicate job in the best of circumstances. It requires a great deal of skills and hard work over long work shifts. The shop where she worked was small, poorly ventilated, cramped with other artisans and generally unsafe and unsanitary due to a lack of equipment and funds. They were routinely mistreated by their clients, forced to working in unsafe conditions for minimal wages and pressured into delivering tight deadlines. 

Unfortunately, this story is a very common one in India. But where Sana’s story differs from most others is that she was able to find a solution. In 2009, Sana searched and found an Indian importer-exporter of fair trade jewelry with a base in Texas who appreciated their work, skills and designs. 

Sana and her colleagues decided to change their business operations and partner with the importer on a permanent basis. Since applying the fair trade principles to their business model, their lives and livelihoods has tremendously improved. After a few short years of constant personal and professional growth, they were able to take the next step in sustainability and created an evening education program for their members. Sana is now enrolled in that program and she will be the first woman in her community to go to college. She plans on gaining the professional skills that will help her to one day take over her aging father’s place as the head of this successful co-op. 

The reason I know Sana and her story is because we work with her and her family. Although Vavavida does not have a production facility, we work with many artisan co-ops across several continents by purchasing their wares and retailing them. This is why we do what we do. We want to make this success story the rule.

Many studies have demonstrated the importance of women’s access to education for the success of a community. With Women Equality Day just behind us, it’s important to remember that about 70% of the world’s poor are women. In countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, women and girls make up around 70% of the apparel sweatshop workers and are often treated as property rather than as human beings. The Noble Peace Prize winner and Pakistani education activist Malala took a bullet to the head because she wanted to be independent and was outspoken about her right as a woman to go to school.

Breaking away from this situation and replacing it with empowered and educated women may be the most important thing we can do to help a community, a nation and the world grow. Even though women are the most affected by poverty, they are also more likely to raise a community out of poverty. Many developing countries stunt their ability to thrive because girls and women are mistreated, preventing their access to basic education. Sana’s success is a reality and fair trade can be part of the solution.

The simple act of purchasing products from companies that promote women’s rights and education can have a tremendous ripple effect down the line. 

I encourage you to change your shopping habits and be mindful of tag on the item. 

Nowadays, looking good and changing someone’s life for the better has never been so easy.