Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Craft from all Corners!

I am fortunate to have a lovely college student/daughter  who is studying Cultural Anthropology.  Since world travel is directly applicable to her degree (she just finished all of her required coursework for her undergrad degree a semester early!), she has managed to travel the world in her past few years of school.  She spent a J-Term semester studying a women's fair trade weaving cooperative in Chiapas Mexico (in the southern mountains of that country).  The group is called Jolom Mayaetik.  She brought me some lovely pillow covers (not to mention a few hand towels and a lovely felted wool purse).

Then, she spent a semester in Suva, Fiji.  She took classes at the University of the South Pacific and lived with a local family.  While there, she wrote a research paper on the function vs. form of native Fijian art, looking at the impact that the tourist market has had on Fijian arts and crafts.  She brought me home some beautiful tapa.  I plan to frame and hang them in my living room.

As a bonus, she also brought me a bed spread with two pillow shams.  The spread and shams represent the Indian influence in Fiji.  The family she lived with was Indian-Fijian or Rotuman.  And fortunately for her, she loves Indian food and the family (like my daughter) was vegetarian.  She did get sick of Roti and Dal by the time she returned home though.

Her final college-based excursion was this past January.  She spent four weeks in northern regions of Thailand.  Based in Chiang Rai, she studied the Akha tribes.  Specifically (since it was a Biology class), she studied the effects and uses of the local herbs and plants on and by child bearing women.  Thus, she was able to combine Botany and Anthropology.

For me, her travels have meant that my home now houses the hand made labors of women in other cultures.  Many of the women my daughter bought from were those with whom she had formed relationships, learned about their craft and met personally.

As I crochet, sew, applique, etc... I think of the beauty from around the world, handcrafted by women just like me, but also very different from me.  I feel a bond.  I appreciate the hand work and I enjoy my quiet time with needle and hook.

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