This beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe ornamnet is hand crafted in a small village outside of Chaing Mai, Thailand by local artisans. Supported with a free trade and fair wage philosophy, these master craftsmen and women have perfected their craft and been able to bcontinue the tradition with some third generation artists now fully participating. Made with lead-free nickel, copper, and brass and lead-free solder, these ornaments are embellished with beads and charms.
Thirty-two years ago in a village outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, a company was created where craftspeople and their families could earn a Fair Wage, support their families in a way they were not able to before, and improve their communities.
You would barely guess that three decades ago this was a chronically poor area; families accustomed to closeness were commonly forced to separate for survival as children went to work in Bangkok’s factories and tourist trades. Traditional village life deteriorated in the face of poverty.
No longer do the villagers consider sending their kids away to the big city. Now, over 400 neighbors in this rural land work together to produce the art pieces. They are able to remain in their homeland and utilize traditional metalworking skills. More artisans are added all the time with a total of 15 Master Craftsmen now leading the way.
This is how it should be, for there are many tasks that need to be completed on the Thai end to create our adorable ornaments, pins, and jewelry. Fortunately, all of these jobs are honest, clean, and economical. No one thinks of dumping trash in rivers or landfills because the villagers work right where they live. No lead or any other dangerous chemicals are used in the products (although children should still take care when handling the pins and other sharp objects).
Besides generally improving quality of life for hundreds, the work set other improvements in motion. For instance, the village’s local grade school received a paved road, computers and clean drinking water. The Thai Department of Education cited this once destitute place of learning as a model for rural schooling.
The Thai villagers are glad for the opportunity to improve the lives of their children. These are people who cherish family, food, and friendship; they are welcoming and overflowing with unforgettable hospitality and kindness. Like us, they relish special occasions such as festivals, farmers markets, social gatherings, dinners, and sporting events.
More importantly, these Thai people are proud to preserve their village traditions and happy to be close to each other. They appreciate the work which sustains their way of life, and they are pleased to learn that others enjoy the projects they create. Look for the light of admirable people inside of every product, and we will keep “working together for good” to bring it to you.