Catching up with old and new friends.
Boys, girls, I expect you all are doing as awesome as it can be possible. I wanted to let you know how life is going on this side as I just realized two of you even mentioned developing an app to know where the hell I was. As some may know, I always dreamed to come to California and here I am, only that I am not there but on the move every single week, at this moment I am in Medellin, Colombia, after two weeks of artisan discoveries. When I started this blog, I was in the coolest beach town I have seen in the US, called Cayucos.
I am not very sure how the dots of my life have been connecting lately, by lately I mean since January 2014 when my office job in Washington DC ended. I ended up doing exactly what I have dreamed of for a long while without the slightest idea it was time. It sounds very silly, but I have been following my heart and turns out that guy is the smartest thing I own. It has lead me to where I need to be; I have always wanted to let go of possessions, to find a meaningful purpose, to really enjoy nature, to find a job where I could take my dog(s) to, even to come back to the compromise of wasting less water, to continue travelling, and obviously to try to do good; to improve the world that I live through my minuscule activities on it. So, lately I have been living and travelling in a 20ft travel trailer that has taken us to the most beautiful places of California, only a few very selected items of my past big-ass closet fit there, but doggies love it, Polish Mcgiver loves it and I adore it.
Professionally, after months of long flights, drives, treks, I can say I have formed a solid network of artisans from six different countries (Mexico, India, Nepal, Colombia, Haiti, Lebanon and Thailand) to which I not only know how they source their raw materials, how the produce their products, but I also know their houses, their family members and their professional dreams. I work with so many talented and beautiful people, I have had the luck to find artisans on top of mountains, in their houses, in their market booths like mine and they all tell me: “just give me your design, the size, colors, whatever you need, I will make it for you”. You won’t believe the amount of badass products we have, made by some badass people we trade with. My philosophy is to build strong partnerships with our artisans, I never hassle with them, never ask for a discount, we always aim at growing our collaboration and particularly in Haiti, my mom and I are proud to say we are seeing the birth of an artisan community of our own.
For now, I just wanted to present World by Hand to you. To further explain the dots (some of them really painful to me) I would need to write another blog, where I can also fit in the amazing network of people by my side (John, Jim, Carlitos and Magdita, my parents, my sister… so many friends that have been so supportive, patient and caring!). Please check the website, like our photos on Facebook, and Instagram, please comment our blogs and follow us! It will mean so much to us. It took me a while to write and let you know about this, it was simply because I wanted to have something more ready for you and the world. The website only includes the tip of the iceberg, but, after all, I have ADHD and most of our stuff is one of a kind that leaves us in market days so no time to really showcase it properly. Anyway. Enjoy and keep up!
Lots of love!
p.s. do not worry guys, I still shower,I rarely use a bra but I still shower.
When we roam around the world looking for artisans, we are aiming at finding creations that support families, that are carefully made, that integrate beauty and quality and that go beyond what we have seen. Well, Mirlo meets all of our dreams plus it includes and excessive amount of cuteness.
One day we were exhausted and hungry but decided to walk in this busy town on top of a mountain in Veracruz, and we found a baby giraffe peeking out of a display window. She was just oh so pretty, with so much personality and uniqueness, then we saw a cute fat rhino and we realized we were into something very special.
Nohemi is the head of Mirlo, she started knitting when she was 12 years old, watching a very old neighbor. She has strived to take knitting to a whole new level, and we believe she doesn’t even know how she overpassed her goals with her immense talent. Many creatures have been created by her, her studio is filled with all sorts of characters, from the movies, to prehistory. There is an ET, his finger lights up, and it is not like “ohhh this guy looks like ET” it’s like “This is ET made out of yarn” kind of thing.
One of her finest pieces is the T-Rex, it is one of the hardest ones to make too, he manages to stand in two feet!
Mirlo will take any challenge and make it real, just look at the cute little zoo we have, the amount of detail is amazing, plus Mirlo also works tapestries in different techniques. Every piece is done with so much care, it takes many days for a creation to be ready. As I said, Mirlo is a family business, everybody helps Nohemi finish a creation, but the magical touches are all hers.
When we were looking for an artist to make our logo by hand, we could not think of a better option. She chose an old and almost lost technique called “mola” and after many days of work, we are -as always- immensely happy with Mirlo’s creative results.
If you have any questions about her characters (most of them here in the online store), please send us an email. Mirlo works on assignment too so shoot us some words of what you need!
It took us a while to find this sleepy village high in a mountain. To reach it, we drove nine ours to the capital of Oaxaca, then another three to sleep in El Refugio (a place where women and families have come for over 20 years to give birth naturally). Next morning we drove again for a bit and after a couple of hours roaming around, there we were, looking at treasure.
The cotton is grown organically (with no pesticides) in the coast, after harvest it is driven all the way up to the mountain where the people employed by Khadi project make it into threads using the gandhi weels that many have at home now. After that, the threads are naturally dyed and hanged in the sun to dry. When they are ready, the threads are carefully hand spun into fabric in a pedal loom. Local carpenters have also built wooden pedal looms in order for workers to create fabrics in their own homes. Every step along this long way makes the product look beautiful in its present state, whether is a cotton ball, threads, the finished fabric… it all looks so earthy and perfect, like the way it was supposed to be all along.
After producing the fabric, then an artisan (yet another one) will come to pick it up to take home and work on the finishing designs to create the clothing. All of this by paying fair wages and empowering the local community.
The treasure is not the incredible taste, quality or the beauty of these pieces, but the new kindergarden that the project has put into place, the natural construction houses that people live in, the vegetable gardens, the flowers everywhere; it is the harmony and peace of making something beautiful and taking the time to do it the right way.
Some of these finds are still in the shop, please check the clothing section 🙂 .
A special thank you to Alicia, her great kids and of course, Marcos, for leading us to this find.
In a far away mountain, there is someone creating beautiful artwork with his/her hands… we are heading out there, to get to know this artisan, to cheer his passion, to help him connect with the people he wants to reach; the people who appreciate the care, love and uniqueness of something done by hand.