As you know I am massively into supporting women to support themselves and their families through their creativity, and that includes in the developing world. I much prefer this approach, and micro loans, rather than charity. I try as often as I can to buy handmade gifts from women's co operatives, to help move money from our rich world directly into the hands of creative women - they bring colour and beauty into my life.
This year I want to bring your attention to some wonderful women and projects supporting them.
For cards - Sreepur cards - based in Bangladesh is a community which cares for 100 destitute mothers and 500 children. At the heart of the community is a paper-making facility, where the mothers transform locally grown jute into beautiful paper which in turn becomes handcrafted Christmas cards. The charity was set up by an ex British Airways stewardess, and BA transport the cards free of charge to the UK for sale, so 100% of the cards sale price goes directly to the mothers and children. They sell at £13.50 for a pack of 16 cards - this year's sold out, due to great coverage in The Guardian, but you can add your name to their mailing list for next year, with subject line 'Priority 2012' to firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxfam - for a whole host of ethically made and traded crafts in the UK only (unfortunately the Irish branch has closed) - I'm asking for a beautiful embroidered sari from it as the foundation piece for my new red tent project (more of which very soon!! - see Facebook for a bit more!)
Serrv is based in the US and sells fair trade, hand made, non profit goodies - some beautiful jewellery, linens and much more... I love these...
And of course there's Etsy, brim full of beautiful handmade creative gems from gorgeous women around the world.
What are YOU doing for Xmas this year? All homemade? No pressies? A secret Santa arrangement? Or full blow out of beautiful gifts? Do you get organised early - or are you a last minutest? I HAVE to have all mine bought/ made or visioned by the end of November at the very latest or I FREAK OUT!! - I've been like this since I was five! So, needless to say, all ours are sorted.
What's on YOUR wanted list? I'm holding out for an i-pad - as a joint gift from everyone - for lots of creative fun.
And what are you making for Xmas? I have just dropped off the clay nativity set to be fired in the Pottery kiln. And I'm hosting our women's group Xmas Craft-Tea again this year- it's in two weeks so we're playing with ideas in anticipation. Do check out thrifty Christmas for lots of ideas.