Thursday, April 18, 2019

11 Fair Trade Gifts for Mother's Day

What better way is there to say thank you to mom (and I love you) than with a fair trade gift? Here are 11 suggestions that are sure to put a big smile on your mother's face. All are offered by fair trade verified Fair Trade Federation members and in a range of price points.

Fused Glass Earrings
1. Fused Glass Teardrop Earrings - Offered in several hues by Dunitz & Company. And yes I had to list our earrings first (and typed with a smile). We offer many shapes and many colors of our fair trade earrings. Teardrops have always been a customer favorite. And anything in combinations of blue are always a sure bet. Hand crafted in Guatemala. Only $18.00

Poppy Scarf
2. Kyrgyz Silk & Felted Scarf - I know these scarves up close and personal. You and mom will be completely wowed by their extraordinary beauty.  Follow the link to learn more about the producers and their family tradition of combining raw silk with felted wool. Offered by Hoonsarts. These are available in several colors and sizes. 79"x 24" $115.00

Castile Soap
3.  Peppermint & Lavender Castile Soap Set - Mom will go nuts for the scents and versatility of Dr. Bronner's pure Castile soap. Gentle enough to use on your face. Take it in the shower. Or heck, you could use it for dishes. I think this gift set is perfect because just about everyone loves the scents of peppermint and lavender. And it's so affordable at $14.99

Striped Aprons
4. Handwoven Bib Aprons - This is the perfect gift for a mom that cooks! We don't think she needs to cook on her special day. But on every other day, she'll want to be decked out in a gorgeous striped fair trade apron. This one comes from MayaMam Weavers and is handmade in Guatemala. $35.00

Ikat Crossbody
5.Ikat Crossbody Purse - From Malia Designs and the perfect size. I love the Ikat fabric in black. The neutral color allows it to be worn with just about anything. Large enough to carry all that one needs and not the kitchen sink. (You know how women tend to carry EVERYTHING, everywhere.) Made in Cambodia. $46.00

Paper Bead Necklace
6. Triple Strand Paper Bead Necklace - These fun 27" long strand necklaces are created with handmade paper beads crafted by the Acholi women of Uganda. Project Have Hope has been working with these women for several years to ensure they can take care of themselves and their families. Your mom will look great and your purchase will help these women. Win-Win. $30.00

Mugs with Heart
7. Speckled Red Heart Mugs - We suggest purchasing a set of 2 for mom. And the visible heart show off just how you feel. And who can have too many mugs for all the fair trade coffee we all drink?  These good looking mugs are crafted in Haiti for Papillon Marketplace. Yes, Food Safe. $16.00/each

Recycled Rubber Travel Case
8.  Recycled Rubber Travel Case - Does mom travel? We know she could always use a nifty case for her makeup and toiletries.  This one from Revy Fair Trade is made from recycled inner-tube and tire rubber. Now how cool is that? Revy's efforts in El Salvador are changing lives. $32.00

Gathered Scarf
9. Gathered Cotton Scarf - Lightweight and fun, we adore this multi-colored gathered scarf from Sevya. Sevya's fair trade scarves are created by artisan groups using centuries-old craft traditions. And, this beauty is actually on sale at the time of my writing. Only $21.00

Luggage Tags
10. Denim Luggage Tags - Is mom a traveler? Perhaps one or more of these fabulous luggage tags fashioned and loomed with recycled denim threads will make the perfect gift? Dad will love them so much, he might steal them away from mom. Available from Mayan Hands and made in Guatemala. $9.00/each

Tablet Sleeve
11. Leather & Woven Tablet Sleeve - Perhaps your mother is glued to her tablet. If she is, you might consider a fabulous looking 13" protective covering. MZ designs some of the most sophisticated pieces coming out of Oaxaca, Mexico. I think these sleeves are sharp. My guess is mom will too. $87.00

So there you have it, my list of  11 fabulous fair trade gifts for mom. Get a jump on Mother's Day and make sure she feels special.

Nancy & Joanie M
And finally, since I am writing about Mother's Day, I must pay tribute to mine. She may be in heaven above, but I think of her almost every day.  Did you see the #1 recommendation above? Dunitz & Company's fused glass jewelry line was named to honor my mom, the original Joanie M. I know she's smiling knowing earrings hanging on cards with her name are selling in so many gift shops and boutiques. -ND

Monday, March 11, 2019

Embracing Vintage. A Chat with Rachel Adelicia.

Rachel, My Fashion Super Hero

Many of you know I'm crazy for vintage fashion. I absolutely love scouring for goodies at local flea markets and thrift stores. And yes, I've been known to snag a few treasures on eBay. There is no question that this passion of mine influences many of my designs for Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry collection. It also draws me to several Instagram feeds I religiously follow. One of my favorites is Rachel Adelicia's. This girl rocks vintage style. She knows her designers and she, frankly looks amazing in all of them. I've been admiring her 'je ne sais quoi' for so long, I finally asked her if she'd be willing to answer a few interview questions for my blog. An overwhelming yes resulted in the following:

NANCY: I've been watching your Instagram feed for a few years now, and I'm always so impressed with your style. Who or what inspired your love of fashion? 

Grandmother and Young Fashionista
RACHEL: My love of fashion and style are both a constant in my life, and something that's still evolving. My mom will tell you that I've always known exactly what I wanted to wear, what shoes to pair it with, and (on top of that) I'd have three more outfits selected for any given day. She loves to share a story about how when I was three, I decided to wear a leotard, even though it was freezing outside, and I made her carry all of my other options. As a baby, we lived in Spain and my mom spent part of her days taking my picture in various outfits. I always tease her that this was the origin of my blog.  Growing up, I drew inspiration from my grandmother's closet, magazines, TV, and any book (on fashion) or old photos I could get my hands on. Today, I still love looking at magazines, TV, film, Instagram, and just about anything that relates to fashion.  This world is gorgeous and I love drawing inspiration from every place I visit. I truly believe that fashion is just a way for us to tell our stories, and I think it's exciting that we can decide 'who' we're going to be or what story we're going to tell each day.

NANCY: Did you study fashion design or fashion history?  You sure know how to pull an impressionable outfit together.

A Postal Story
RACHEL: I have a BFA in Theater & Television, so I've studied costuming.  I also have a passion for art and art history. I'm fascinated by the crossover of art and fashion. Most of my outfits come from either an idea of a shoot I want to do, or a story I want to tell, or my wanting to put together pieces I already own and love.

NANCY: Being a fair-trader myself, I'm particularly interested in sustainable fashion, thrifting and discovering great vintage finds. You seem to excel at it. Do you have any tips for someone who is new at hunting for fashion treasure? 

Rachel on YouTube
RACHEL: I love vintage and thrift shopping. I think the most important thing is to give yourself ample time. This kind of shopping requires you to really look, dig in, and explore whatever store you're in or website you're surfing. Flexibility is key, being open to whatever is there that day. If you love something, I always say buy it, because it can be hard to find that something again. There are so many websites and brick & mortars out there (selling vintage), so I think that patience comes into play. Most of all, have fun with the process. Vintage shopping and thrifting is a treasure hunt game. Let the process bring you joy. (For a few more tips and ideas, watch Rachel's recent You Tube video.)

NANCY: What about preservation? Do you have any practical suggestions for caring for vintage finds? Maybe the best way to keep the moths away? Or a simple way to clean an old leather handbag?

Best Kept Cleaning Secret
RACHEL: To keep your vintage fresh, I cannot recommend acid free tissue paper enough. Fold your really fragile and intricate pieces in it. Use good quality hangers. High quality leather oil and soap, Coach makes a great set, will preserve your handbags. Retro-Clean is what I use to wash most of my vintage. It's a soak that takes out aging stains but is super gentle.  I try to tow the line between enjoying my clothes and taking care of them. I say, live in them, but make sure to treat them well.

NANCY: Do you have a favorite designer past or present? What about that designer excites you?

Showing Off a Party Dress
RACHEL: I love 1950's Dior. And new Gucci. I love how unapologetic it is. Anything with personality. I have a thing for party dresses, always have, so any great party dress is always on my wish-list. What excites me most about fashion is mixing it up. High with Low. Vintage with Modern. I think that's the most fresh way to express yourself, and the most interesting.


NANCY: Do you have a favorite vintage find? Maybe two? I'd love to hear what they are?

Rachel wears Texas 1964
RACHEL: I split my time between Los Angeles and Austin, TX and I own a dress that belonged to Miss Texas of 1964 which I found in Los Angeles. [Note: This dress was worn during Miss Texas's reign. It is uncertain to what event she specifically wore it.] It's the perfect combination of me. I also have quite a few things including coats and suits that were once my grandma's and my mom's. These are so dear to my heart.

NANCY: Any other tips or tidbits you'd like to share? 

RACHEL: Fashion connects us, can speak for us, ties us to the past and the future. It's so much more than what we're actually wearing.  I love fashion and the idea that I inspire others. (She does.) I'm so so so lucky to work in fashion for my living. I'm so grateful.

---end of interview

So, there you have it.  I can say with complete confidence, if you have any interest in vintage fashion design, you should be watching Rachel Adelicia's Instagram feed. From there you can easily find her blog posts and videos.

One more thing. Rachel also follows Shop Dunitz (don't forget to follow us, too) on Instagram and is a frequent admirer of my designs. I know this because she "likes" a lot of our posts. She seems to have a soft spot for our Joanie M fused glass jewelry and tells me next time she's in Los Angeles we'll do a photo shoot together. I can't wait! -ND

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hollywood Stars Shine in Pink

I'm always thinking about color and how it pertains to Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry collection. That being said, you absolutely know that the color pink is on my brain after watching the recent Academy Awards. I already knew from watching trends, projections and runway shows that I should include various shades of pink in the Dunitz Spring 2019 lineup.  And I did. What I didn't know, and to some extent still don't, is whether my customers will be willing to wear it. (You've heard me countless time say blue is always the top seller.)

I couldn't have been more pleased to see so many Hollywood A-Listers dolled up in fabulous pink gowns for Oscar's biggest night. Pale Pink. Hot Pink. Fuchsia. Julia Roberts. Gemma Chan. Helen Mirren. Kacey Musgraves. Age was of no issue. Even Jason Mamoa stepped out in a pink velvet Tuxedo.

What does that mean for the rest of us? I'd say it's time for many of us to show some bravery, even if it's only a small accent of bravery.  Consider wearing a pair of Dunitz & Company's pink fair trade earrings. And yes, we have pale pink, hot pink and fuchsia options. -ND

Monday, February 25, 2019

Oscar Fashions - Tongue in Cheek

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I always study Academy Awards fashion looking for tips and trends that might impact my designs for Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry. I loved the sea of pink. So many different shades of pink. There were also many looks that for some reason struck my funny bone. So for a bit of humor, I thought I'd share my observations.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez. The woman is gorgeous. And she looked absolutely stunning last night. However, my knee-jerk reaction was, "where is the floral headpiece?"  Her silver mirrored mosaic gown (designed by Tom Ford) with her perfect hourglass figure made me think of the glitzy vases you'll find in many lifestyle furniture stores. And you know what I mean, right?

Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves showed up in a flouncy pastel pink number that landed on several best-dressed lists. To me, her gown, designed by Giambattista Valli reminded me of a fluffy loofah. I've since observed that the fashion twitter feeds are saying the same.

Gemma Chan
When I saw Gemma Chan on the red carpet I was totally wowed. How could someone look so absolutely breathtaking in a dress that resembles a tent. (I read she hid cookies in her pockets.) OK, this Valentino gown didn't "exactly" look like a tent. But, seriously.  I live and work in Hollywood, CA. I live only half a mile from where this extravagant event was taking place. I live next to the Hollywood Bowl where all the limos parked during the ceremony. And I hate to say it. The gown brought me down to earth and reminded me of all the tents in the area housing homeless. And sometimes they're pink. It's a huge problem in Los Angeles.

Charlize Theron
A more pleasing association is what was brought to mind when I saw the stunning Charlize Theron strutting her stuff. She's one long tall drink of water. And in a slate blue Dior gown topped off  with prominent diamond jewels, I know it's crazy, but I thought of a long, tall light post. And the most famous one's around here are Urban Lights, a sculpture installation created by Chris Burden. See it up close out front at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Haven't seen it? Now you must get on over to LACMA.

Christine Lahti
Christine Lahti looked quite adorable in this number designed by Romona Kevenza.  And evidently she twirled in it several times to show off just how pretty it was (and she was.) It reminded me a bit of a lampshade I have in my living room. It did. Well just a bit.

Lupita Nyong'o * Bjork
So here's my final thought. Lupita Nyong'o skipped the red carpet this year. Evidently she attended the Academy Awards. She just didn't strut her stuff in the feathery Oscar de la Renta gown she was donning. Perhaps she didn't want to be compared with Bjork and the swan dress Bjork wore in 2001. (Gee, that was a long time ago.) But here's the thing. Lupita does the look so much better!

Most all of Hollywood's elite looked amazing last night. And only a few made me think of mosaic vases and vintage lamp posts. Stay tuned for the 2020 Oscars. Who knows what I'll discover and share on the Dunitz blog. - ND

Friday, February 22, 2019

LeeAnne McCoy - Changing How You Shop

LeeAnne McCoy
Are you familiar with LeeAnne McCoy and her encyclopedic website "Change The World By How You Shop?" If you aren't, you should be. If you want to make more educated, more ethical buying choices, she's done all the work for you. Clothing. Furnishings. Food. Toys. You name it. She has diligently assembled what I think is one of the most comprehensive buying guides for smarter shopping. I am so impressed with her website, I asked if she would be willing to have me interview her. Lucky me. Lucky us. She agreed. And now we know what motivates all of her hard work.

NANCY: Your site 'Change The World By How You Shop' is an extraordinary resource listing so many companies producing and selling ethical merchandise. How did you get started with creating this site? 

LEEANNE:  The idea for my website was born for two reasons.  First, the more I learned about the mistreatment of people behind so many of the products we buy, the more passionate I became about ethical shopping and the more I wanted to do something to make a difference.  Secondly, when I began shopping for ethically made products, I was frustrated at the lack of ethical shopping guides available, particularly for shopping within the USA. When I started, I couldn't find any.

So I came up with this crazy idea of creating my own guide which would break the products down into very specific categories, making it easier to find whatever you were looking for.  The website takes a lot of work to maintain, but, if nothing else, it has certainly makes ethical shopping a lot easier.

NANCY: Do you have a favorite fair trade category you like talking about the most?

LEEANNE:  I am most passionate about businesses that go beyond just paying living wages and invest in the entire person, transforming people's lives. Many of the organizations whose products I feature on my site are providing job training and hope to people including those with disabilities, widows, orphans, former victims of human trafficking, the homeless, and on and on.  I give to charity. I also love the idea of supporting well-meaning business through my every day shopping. I like to know the mission of companies is about changing and improving lives.

NANCY: It appears you don't support your site and work with paid or affiliate advertising. Is there a reason for this?

LEEANNE:  You are one of only a few who has even noticed that.  I am certainly not against anyone earning income from their blogs or shopping guides and maybe someday I will too.  But, for now I do not, for two reasons.  One, I am not a very good salesman and I find it a whole lot easier to promote and sell something if I am not profiting from it.  Two, because I promote so many organizations which are mission-based, my website has become my mission. 

The best payment I get for the work I do is when I hear someone bought a product after referring to my site.  I am fulfilled when I am able to encourage and provide resources to someone running a fair trade business or non-profit who is feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.  That is why I do what I do.

NANCY: I met you in the 'Purchase with Purpose' Facebook group.  How else do you promote your site and the amazing things you've learned while putting it together?

LEEANNE:  I love that Facebook group. I have met so many cool people and found so many great resources through that group. I also follow many other ethical shopping Facebook groups and blogs and spend a lot of time scouring the Internet and social media for other like-minded shoppers. Then I let them know about the resources on my site.  I know there are many others like me who are looking for ways to make ethical shopping easier and I am happy to share my research. (yes she is!)

NANCY:  You're a mom of 6 young children.  Obviously you want the world to be a better place for them. How do you explain your site to them?

McCoy Family
LEEANNE:  Shopping ethically with young children is not always easy.  How do you explain to a six-year-old why he cannot have a particular toy or chocolate bar?  My nine-year-old sometimes laments that he wishes there was no more slavery or bad factories so he could buy whatever he wants. And my eleven-year-old keeps coming up with elaborate plans on how to fix all the world's problems.

I hope that by not being able to buy anything and everything they want and thinking about those who made things we do buy, it will help them be more grateful for what they do have.  Ultimately, my dream is not so much to make the world better for my children, as it is to inspire my children to make a difference in the world.  If my children choose to use their talents, time and resources to invest in caring about and impacting other people’s lives than I will have succeeded.

NANCY: Clearly you're an advocate for the promotion of fair trade and ethical goods. What do you do for fun when you're not helping others make better buying decisions?

Family Game Night
LEEANNE:  I am a piano and flute teacher. That is how I actually make my living. And when I want to relax, I play music.  For fun, me and my whole family are avid board game players. I have had to do quite a bit of research to find out which games are ethically made. Now we have a whole collection we all enjoy.

NANCY: Is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?

LEEANNE:   My dream would be to work directly with the amazing people who create the beautiful products I feature on my website. Maybe someday. But I have learned that God does not call everybody to the front-lines.  Those of us who are on the sidelines cheering them on or working behind the scenes are just as important to making a difference.  So, anyone who shops through my site also gets to join me in having an impact.

---end of interview

How can you not love this woman? Her aura is inspiring and inspired. I'm certain if you cannot find a company that offers the ethically produced product you're looking for, you just need to ask LeeAnne. She's a pitbull at finding resources. And she'll make sure any new information she uncovers will be added to Change The World By How You Shop. Heck, she found me. I'm thrilled Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry and Judaica are noted on her site.

Here's a big thank you to LeeAnne for creating Change The World By How You Shop.  I'm certain LeeAnne is changing the world for the better - one person at a time and one fair trade and ethically made item at a time. -ND

Friday, February 15, 2019

New York Fashion Week - Black Black Black

Once again, like clockwork, New York Fashion Week is behind us. And if you're anything like me, your eyes were glued to all of the Fall 2019 runway shows of all the top and best-known designers. What did I see? Lots and lots of black clothing.  

Seriously? I was hoping to find some vibrant clothing that might inspire new color combinations for Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry collections. I discovered a bit. But what I mostly saw was a sea of black and grey from all the names you know, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Cynthia Rowley and more.

The silver lining? If women are strutting their stuff in monochromatic black (next winter), I can offer all kinds of colorful baubles. What better backdrop for shades of purple, jade and burgundy is black?  One of my best strategies for coming up with fabulous color combinations is to hone in on what were our best sellers in the past.

Ya know what? I'm a bit guilty when coordinating my own wardrobe. I wear a lot of black. And certainly these top designers recognize that most women do. They know it sells.  'All black' is an easy "uniform" for many of us. How often have you seen me at a trade show not in black?

So, get it on. Doll up in all of your black clothing for Fall 2019. You'll be right on trend. And you'll be able to adorn yourself with just about any color of gem or bauble that steals your heart. Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry, always designed with rich colors will be your perfect add on. -ND

Monday, February 11, 2019

Fair Trade at Work: Global Gifts' Alissa Head

When you work in "Fair Trade" as long as I have, you meet so many people making a difference. Big differences. And more often than not, many of these do-gooders don't get the recognition they deserve. We don't always know who they are. We don't always understand exactly what they do. One person that has impressed me with her professionalism and dedication is Alissa Head. Alissa's the Executive Director of Global Gifts, a group of fair trade stores based in Indianapolis, IN.  I asked Alissa if I could interview her for my blog. She graciously accepted. Here's what she had to share with me.

NANCY:  You've been part of Global Gifts for several years.  I'm just curious. Did you move to the Midwest to work for Global Gifts? Or were you fortunate to find this perfect fit while already living in Ohio?

ALISSA:  I was already living in Columbus, OH when the opportunity to join Global Gifts came about. I had just stepped out of my role as Vice President of Operations at a local, print on demand, direct to consumer e-commerce t-shirt company that had grown by 500% during my tenure of 4 years. (from $500K to $12M in sales annually.) As graphic tees phased out of fashion, I was asked to downsize our production. I did so, but I put myself at the top of the list of people to lay off and left the company at the end of the reorganization. One week later a friend told me about Global Gifts opening a store in Columbus, and there was a position open for Store Manager. I was eager to get back into the non-profit world and applied. (Alissa explained she had previous experience in non-profit trade association work.) 

NANCY: Was there a pivotal life experience that encouraged you to work in 'fair trade'? 

Alissa's Hat Design
ALISSA:  I have been very active in our local handmade community for many years as a knitting pattern and knitwear designer, which led me to my previous job. Handmade is the root of my passion for fair trade, but justice and integrity are what drive me. Treating people fairly, in all aspects of work, both domestically and globally, as well as environmental sustainability are two tenets I hold very dear. There was a moment during my previous employment, during rapid growth, when we visited one of our t-shirt distribution centers. The warehouse was one square mile, chockablock floor to ceiling, full of boxes of blank shirts. I was stunned by the magnitude of it and I thought to myself, “There is no way this is sustainable.” That moment, plus the reorganization of the company, were two experiences that made me realize I would never be comfortable working towards increasing a bottom line at the expense of the environment and people’s welfare. I had heard of fair trade chocolate and coffee, but was unaware of the handmade movement. When I had the opportunity to work for Global Gifts, I jumped in eagerly!

NANCY:  Describe some of the important projects you are working on in the shop(s)?

ALISSA:  Right now my focus is on streamlining operations for our four stores, including better systems for Human Resources, as well as upgrading our technology in stores to improve our efficiency and customer relations. Additionally, along with our Marketing Manager, Jennifer Moncel, I am working to increase our brand awareness and improve our website to make it more cohesive with our brick and mortar experience.

NANCY:  And do you have a favorite project or activity you're involved with at Global Gifts?

ALISSA:  Before I was promoted to Executive Director I was Purchasing Manager, while also Store Manager in Columbus. Looking at all the lovely new designs and deciding what to bring into the stores is still one of my favorite things. Although I am no longer in charge of purchasing, I still enjoy our process, now led by Dave Debikey, our Bloomington Store Manager.

NANCY: When did Global Gifts become part of Fair Trade Federation?  Do you have any thoughts about this partnership? 

ALISSA:  I joined Global Gifts in late February 2014, and one of my earliest experiences was attending the Fair Trade Federation Conference that year in Indianapolis, co-hosted by Global Gifts. I learned so much there and am so grateful for the FTF Community. We rely on Fair Trade Federation verification when considering new products, vendors, and artisan groups. The assurance Fair Trade Federation membership gives us in transparency and accountability, and the ability to share that with our customers, is key to our mission in supporting at risk and marginalized artisans.

NANCY: Can you share a story that makes you smile? A story where you and/or Global Gifts were integral in making a positive change?

ALISSA:  This year we have completed all of our requirements to make Columbus, OH an official Fair Trade Town through Fair Trade Campaigns. The only step left is to have a resolution passed by the Mayor. This has been a personal project of mine since 2015, and I am gratified to see its completion. We have a great fair trade community in Columbus, and last year we started making regular appearances vending at local events, as well as hosting our own "World Fair Trade Day Sip and Shop". This result is due to the accumulated efforts of not only myself, but many unpaid interns and community members. I hope to be able to pass the torch this year to take Fair Trade Columbus to the next level, spreading the word and work of fair trade.

NANCY: You must be proud of your website. It's really easy to navigate.  Where else can people learn more about Global Gifts?

ALISSA: In addition to our website, each of our stores has its own social media accounts on facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Following these accounts gives a wonderful insight into each store’s location, culture, and community, led by the store managers. It’s a lot of fun to see what they do with their posts and how it takes us further along the path of sharing fair trade at the local level.

NANCY: Of course, I'm thrilled that Global Gifts is selling Dunitz & Company's fused glass jewelry. You know I had to ask.  Do you have a favorite design you like pointing out to customers? Or something you personally enjoy wearing?

ALISSA:  I personally love the skinny leather and fused glass bracelet in my favorite hues of blue. 

NANCY: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

ALISSA:  I feel so fortunate to be Executive Director of this organization, working for fair trade along with our wonderful team at Global Gifts.  Although I feel that I bring a lot of experience to this position, I also still have so much to learn, and I am looking forward to the continued journey.

---end of interview :)

Post Interview: I asked Alissa to tell me more about her artistic side. I wanted to know just a little more about her and what drives her in addition to her work at Global Gifts. She told me about her formal visual arts training and shared with me some images of her recent art work. With her permission, I'm sharing a few here.

Alissa spends a lot of time creating fiber art. Check out the photo to the right. Named "Meditations on Wholeness," Alissa knit this piece with stainless steel and silk thread. How cool is that?

Alissa's wool fiber paintings were part of a group exhibit hosted last year at Global Gallery, a fair trade coffee shop located in Columbus. Her paintings are inspired by photographs she took at Blendon Woods, one of the metro parks in her area.  Spot on.

Thank you for allowing me to pummel you with questions, Alissa. It always amazes me how much more I can learn from all those around me working in and supporting fair trade. I'm so impressed by you and the work you do at Global Gifts. And now I know what a talented artist you are as well.

Reading this? If you're in Indianapolis, Bloomington or Columbus, get on over to a Global Gifts store. These shops offer a wide selection of wonderful fair trade goodies. And, yes, lots of Dunitz & Company fused glass jewelry. -ND