MaidenRock Wisconsin
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Behind The Scenes At Cultural Cloth

02/23/2014

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Store opening April 17th for the season!

Store Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
or by appointment

Town



Behind the scenes this winter at Cultural Cloth



As a seasonal business we're often asked: how do you spend your winter? By the time we reopen on April 17th we'll have logged over 16,000 air miles. To those who have asked this question, here's a glimpse of what we've been up to.



We'll have met with a dozen artisan groups in Guatemala , primarily women, to review their products and make purchasing decisions. We'll have commissioned handwork from over 125 women with whom we enjoy long-standing relationships. Income earned from Cultural Cloth helps them to support their families and provides opportunities that otherwise would be out of reach. For instance, last month we sat down with Rosa, the daughter of one of our embroiderers. She was eager to tell us all about her first year at college and how her view of the world has expanded, how she is seeing more and more opportunities unfold before her and how this new way of seeing feels "miraculous". (For Rosa , attending college is quite an accomplishment since her father was only able to attend school through the 4th grade and her mother never had an opportunity to attend any school at all.) We'll have scoured markets across the highlands and found fabulous folk art then carefully packed it up and shipped it home. We'll have discovered a promising young artisan hidden away in an overcrowded marketplace and felt delighted to offer this young mother an opportunity to work with Cultural Cloth. Before returning home we'll have laid out a production calendar with Reyna, our fabulous in-country manager who is overseeing design revisions, purchase orders and new products in pipe line.



Along the way, in support of one of our rug hookers, a woman we've come to admire, we'll have taken a day off to attend the funeral of her father. The moving service, filled with live music, singing, and armloads of fresh flowers, was held in a tiny church perched high above Lake Atitlan . As if to balance this loss, later in the trip we'll have met the new baby girl born to the woman who makes our market baskets.



This month in far flung corners of Afghanistan , Haiti , Egypt & Kyrgyzstan women are working on products for Cultural Cloth. We haven't travelled to these countries but each week a blizzard of emails are sent back and forth in which we communicate commission parameters and design revisions. We've reordered popular classics -the Kyrgyzstan needle felted silk shawls that sold out almost immediately last summer- and we're working on new designs, too, like embroidery-by-the-foot from Bedouin women. All of these products- each scarf, shawl, rug, table runner, coverlet, wallhanging or purse- is made by hand, stitch by stitch according to ancient traditions. Our mission is to support women living in difficult circumstances around the globe, women who are striving to improve their lives through the sale of their exquisite hand work.



Thanks for being a part of our journey. Without you none of this would be possible. We look forward to welcoming you to the shop when we throw open our doors on APRIL 17th.



With gratitude,

Jody Slocum & Mary Anne Wise

Co-Founders / Cultural Cloth


 

 

 

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