Fair Trade Ornaments

 

The Fair Trade Federation defines fair trade as a system of exchange that seeks to create greater equity and partnership in the international trading system. The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. Fair Trade Federation members  work with artisans and producers in an honorable  atmosphere to support communities in helping themselves.

Although there are many ornaments that are Made in the USA where there are laws in place to protect the health, safety and rights of artisans and factory workers, there can be products that are made overseas where the rights of employees often may be at the discretion of the employer.

We wanted to feature a few of the ornament vendors that have a fair trade policy in place and who honor the designers and crafters who create the ornaments. This is by no means all of the ornament vendors who practice fair trade. It is a small sampling for your review and there are many more ornament vendors featured on the Ornaments.com directory with fair trade ornaments as well as many ornament shops listed on Ornaments.com that practice fair trade but may not actually be members of the Fair Trade Federation.

Lucuma Design - Fair Trade Knitted OrnamentsLucuma Designs has been a proud member of the  Fair Trade Federation since 1999. As a fair trade business based on collaboration and long term personal relationships, they believe in a world of compassion, strong ethics, prosperity and happiness for all. They  work with over 150 women knitters in Peru who make alpaca wool ornaments. They are provided fair (artist-set) wages, long-term work relationships, design help, micro-financing, and more.

Lucuma strives to create cheer through beautiful designs. A smiling face is their best reward, both from customers and the designers and artists.  Their natural hand-made gourd ornaments shown in the bowl at the top of this article are carved and colored with fire in a small village in the Andes Mountains. The art of creating gourd ornaments has been practiced by the artists of this village for at least 200 years and passed down from generation to generation. The gourds were originally used for storage and also to record history and tell the story and celebrations of the villagers and gradually evolved to become more decorative than utilitarian. The gourd ornaments are great examples of Lucuma Designs’ commitment to beauty, superb craftsmanship and sustainable design that empowers talented women artists and family workshops in Peru to help themselves and their communities. The artists are encouraged to think outside of the box and develop new designs while maintaining the cultural integrity of their art. With prices ranging from $8 – $16, the handcrafted ornaments are an affordable opportunity to own a unique ornament while supporting families in Peru.

The founders of Gifts with Humanity began their fair trade business after living in Kenya for several years and wanting  to see the multi-talented artisans rewarded for their creativity and work. Now Gifts with Humanity  works with local  artists and producers in over 20 countries and the ornaments and other handcrafted items are sold in over 1000 shops in the USA and Canada. The idea for a fair trade business model that would bring new opportunities to the artists and a fine collectible ornament  to western customers has mushroomed from a family owned business into a large  corporation. They work with producers all over the world. You can read more about their programs  in the  Americas , Africa, and Asia. Gifts with Humanity has gourd ornaments, recycled metal ornaments, hand embroidered ornaments, and papier mache ornaments. They will donate 10% of all of their sales at GiftswithHumanity.com to charities which the purchasers may choose at check out.

 Novica.com was created with the artist in mind. Their business model is artist centered rather than just product focused.  That is evidenced by their commitment to fair trade. The artists on Novica are independent and do not pay any fees for being listed.

Not only does Novica help create an atmosphere of respect for artists, visiting Novica is also an educational experience. On every product page, you will learn a little about the artist and their culture. You may want to read testimonials from artists whose lives have been changed by the fair trade practices of Novica. Hearing directly from the artist makes your purchase more personal and important as you enjoy the ornaments for years to come or gift them to someone who will appreciate the item you choose for them.

Novica has over 500 ornaments as well as other handcrafted collectibles, eco-friendly products, folk art, art glass, figurines, jewelry and wearable ornaments. A fun way to navigate the site is to click on the Region tab.  Handcrafted ornaments are offered from many areas of the world such as the Andes , Bali and Java , India , Mexico and West Africa . You can also just follow the link at the bottom of the page and view all of their Christmas Ornaments. You would really have a hard time finding these unique fair trade ornaments anywhere else without extensive travel to remote locations. Instead, you may just end up spending the whole day at Novica.

The ornaments at MataTraders.com are 100% hand-block printed cotton birds and are hand-appliqued in India by women co-op members. The bird ornaments are handmade as part of a fair trade women’s cooperative  that adheres to fair trade principles and creates opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers. Honoring fair trade policies, Mata Traders pays the artists and producers livable wages in safe and comfortable surroundings. They work at home or in small workshops rather than factories and child care and medical care are available as well.

The fabrics are made from eco-friendly vegetable dyes, a process that has been used in the culture of India for centuries. Keeping the designs simple and beautiful, the ornaments are 3″ long and available in four different colors:  Saffron, Purple, Teal or Grey.

The ornaments at Greenheart are fair trade felted wool ornaments and are handmade by artisans in Kathmandu, Nepal. Local artisans handcraft the ornaments out of 100% natural wool which is very soft to the touch. They attach a hanging string to the back of the ornament so that you can hang them on your Christmas tree or anywhere in your home or patio where you want a little touch of color. Certified by the Fair Trade Federation, the artisans and producers working with Greenheart are paid a living wage and are ensured a safe and healthy work environment. The folks at Greenheart suggest that you can change the world by shopping. Each wool ornament that you purchase from them is a vote for sustainable and fair business practices.

Discover more ornaments and figurines that support the work of craftspeople around the world on the Ornaments.com.

 

Vacation Ornaments

Ornaments and More - Travel Suitcase OrnamentJust in time….we have launched the Vacation Ornaments page on the Ornaments Directory.  It’s a great place to start your search for travel ornaments with links to several ornament vendors and featured travel ornaments.

We want to share with you a little about one of the premier ornament vendors for vacation ornaments because they have such clever ideas for making the most out of your vacation.  Hint:  spend your holiday vacationing instead of searching the local shops for souvenirs.

Ornaments and More - Las Vegas OrnamentsThe folks at OrnamentsAndMore.com know that souvenirs from vacations are so important. Especially when the vacation is over and one is back to reality, you will be working hard and looking back at your vacation in wonder, wishing that you had perhaps gotten some better souvenirs. Maybe you will look at your souvenirs and wish you had spent more time on the beach instead of shopping.

Being reminded in a fun way of our vacations helps us to start looking forward and planning the next one. A travel ornament is a great idea for a vacation souvenir because you don’t have to carry it with you.  For your best vacation souvenir ever, order your vacation ornament online at OrnamentsAndMore.com and have it delivered to your home. You only really need this one souvenir. Because it is so special you won’t need anything else, which means you will be saving money and you will not have to worry about paying for excess luggage or duty fees at the airport. Less worry…more fun.

Ornaments and More - First Cruise OrnamentThere are many lovely personalized travel keepsakes to choose from at Ornaments and More, including their sightseeing helicopter ornament, 1st Cruise ornament, Ranch Vacation ornament, personalized Traveler’s suitcase ornament and Airplane Vacation of a Lifetime gift idea.  Other ideas include a glass travel trailer, RV holiday decorations, gambling weekend in Vegas, tropical getaways, destination weddings, and beach vacations.  Commemorate once in a lifetime trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, Italy, Japan, France or Africa. Celebrate vacations taken to reunite with friends and family for a family reunion, college reunion or girls weekend away.

After your vacation, invite friends over and your vacation ornaments will be an excellent conversation starter for you and your company.  You can show them your ornaments, and tell your guests all about your vacation. In fact, why not start a tradition and choose a vacation ornament each year and display them where you will be reminded of your fun family times?

Customized travel decorations are a fun way to tell someone about an upcoming trip. Travel ornaments are a special, unique and personal idea with lots of meaning.  Ornaments and More has something for almost every vacation and if it is your friends, boss, employees, or family that are getting ready for a vacation, be sure to surprise them with a personalized vacation ornament from Ornaments and More.

Excerpts and images used with permission from OrnamentsAndMore.com

Choosing a Pet Ornament

ChristmasOrnaments.com - Chihuahua Ornament        ChristmasOrnaments.com - Girl Holding Kitten Ornament   ChristmasOrnaments.com - Pomeranian Ornament

PETS ARE PART OF OUR FAMILIES

Looking at photos of my family’s Christmas tree, I notice ornaments that represent marriages, births, and family vacations, and all those bring back memories that our family spent together. Our family is, however, more than just people.  It includes our pets, and for that reason, we have ornaments for them too!

I can look at the ornament of Tiger, the gray cat we had growing up, and remember the time he decided to climb our 14 foot Christmas tree and send it crashing to the ground (he, along with the tree and ornaments, somehow came out unharmed). Or I can look at the ornament of our two golden retrievers, Elvis and Priscilla, and reminisce about the time when they helped open half our presents before we woke up.

CHOOSING AN ORNAMENT FOR THEM

ChristmasOrnaments.com - Dog Bone Frame OrnamentA lot of the ornaments I look fondly at are the ones I made as a young child. When it comes to pets, I don’t think it would be a good idea for them to assist in any part of the process – I’m just imagining glue and glitter stuck to the fur of your cat as your dog chases him around with painted paws. You can always run to a craft store and pick up a little wooden picture frame, paint it with paw prints.  Again, be aware that if you dip your pet’s paw into paint, you will probably have a nice memory of a pet who furiously squirmed around getting red & green paw prints on everything but the ornament. It’s easy to personalized the pet frame ornament by sliding your favorite pet picture in. If you don’t feel inclined to tackle the craft project, go to ChristmasOrnaments.com to buy the cute pet frame ornament which is pictured above.

ChristmasOrnaments.com - Grey Cat OrnamentIf you are looking for a simple, mess free alternative, consider buying an ornament that looks like your dog, cat, bird, snake, or whatever kind of pet is part of your family. At ChristmasOrnaments.com, you can select from a variety of dogs, cats, horses, and even frogs. The grey cat which stands at 3 inches looks quite a bit like my cat, Oliver, while the German shepherd glass ornament which is 4 inches has an amazing resemblance to my mother-in-law’s dog. If for some reason you can’t find an ornament that looks like your dog, you can always get the ornament frame and put a picture of you and your dog in there.

CREATING YEARS OF MEMORIES

After you have an ornament for your pets, you will be able to be nostalgic about them for years. Just be sure to keep the ornaments up high on the tree especially if it’s in the shape of a bone!

Guest written by the folks at ChristmasOrnaments.com.

More pet & animal ornaments on the Ornaments.com Directory.

Wooden Snowflake Ornaments

Duane Kriebel has spent most of his life learning about wood.

Duane Kriebel, owner and operator of Spheramid Woodworks and Richmond Renovations and Restorations in Waco, Kentucky got the idea of making wooden snowflakes over 20 years ago from a magazine article.   He modified the process, and began the journey to what he says became almost an obsession to come up with new and striking designs within the parameters of the medium. Wood has always been his favorite thing to create with, but Duane relates that it can also be quite contrary in what it will allow one to accomplish.

Having worked at a variety of wood related jobs over the last 30 years, from pallets to pipe organs, guitars and custom furniture, and homes, the ornament and woodworking artist used his skills and learned “seat of the pants” engineering to make his shop a productive snow flake environment.  He also credits a wonderful group of mentors over the years for his success.

The flakes are a combination of additive wood work and subtractive wood work.  The beginning is removing choice areas of 6 individual “rails” and then gluing the 6 rails into a “Log”, of which the flakes are sliced off and finish sanded and sprayed.  Much like a sculptor, Duane doesn’t always know just what the final flake will look like, nor if it will even stay together through the process of machining and finishing.

The 6 pointed star or hexagon is true to the crystalline structure of frozen water, and the 100’s of designs assure most folks never get 2 alike, just like real snow! The Spheramid Woodworks ornaments are real wood, made with real hands, and each flake is inspected and handled many times before it is passed along to the buyer.

Kriebel tells us that he always had a fascination with spheres and the work of Buckminster Fuller, and that the hexagons and triangles of a geodesic dome are inspiring. The company name Spheramid is a marriage of a Sphere, which is implosion proof and the most economical use of space in the universe and the pyramid, which represents a strong, long lasting base or rigidity.  These are the unique properties Duane says that he strives for in his life and in his work.

The species of wood used for the ornaments are local to the central Kentucky area and include poplar, sycamore, gingko, maple, white oak, pine, Kentucky coffee tree, and most any wood that Duane can find that is strong, glues well, and machines well. There is very little area to glue and 50% of it is what wood workers call “end grain” that is a difficult way to glue up things due to the porosity of the end grain acting like a handful of soda straws, wicking up the glue. All non-toxic, and no rain forest wood, makes the wooden ornaments fit well with the environment.

Duane says that it is always a great feeling to see the looks on the faces of those who receive a flake for the first time. Every year brings new ideas, new production methods, improvements and quite a bit of fodder for the woodstove. He used to shovel the scraps into the shop woodstove when things weren’t working out. Many, many hours of milling and sanding, spraying lacquer out doors in winter, playing with pearl finish and trying to make wood look more “icy” gets him very involved in the Christmas Spirit.

Perfect ornaments for decorating the Christmas tree, year round uses are also plentiful.  Buyers and family members always come up with new uses for the flakes, such as refrigerator magnets, earrings, attached to a ceiling fan pull chain, placed on a screen door to keep people from walking though the closed screen ( or even a glass door), coasters, window shade pulls. You name it, someone has mentioned it. Many folks like to paint them with the kids for the tree trimming adventure.

Article & images used with permission from Duane Kriebel-Spheramid Woodworks.

 

Wedding Ornaments & Favors

Aromatic ornaments are ideal wedding and party favors.

   

Butterfly ornaments make great spring and summer party favors.  When considering the theme for a fair weather event, thoughts of flowers and butterflies often top the list.  Natural flowers and butterfly releases are especially nice and many sources for live butterflies can be found on the internet.

But more and more party planners are choosing butterfly ornaments as a lasting remembrance of their special event. While live butterfly releases can be dramatic, some people are opposed to using live butterflies for a number of reasons.  An eco-friendly version is a good alternative to a release and a unique ornament can be a perfect companion gift to a live release.  And, while live butterflies may fly away, the ornaments will go home with the guests.

Imported offerings seem to be everywhere, but quality, hand crafted domestic alternatives can be found with a bit of searching.  Some can be personalized and other artists offer custom colors as well.  Still others offer all these options and gift boxes and more.

When searching for ornaments, be sure to try several different search engines for the best variety of choices. Choose a company that offers samples for sale, and try to plan well ahead.  Quality hand crafted ornaments may take time to produce and in some cases they are made to order and personalized.  Make sure you can speak with a real person if you have questions about ordering online. Share the prospects with your Facebook friends unless the choice is to be a surprise.

The Wedding Department has a very nice selection of butterfly ornaments.  They will add an aroma and personalized text to make your ornaments unique.  They also have many other popular shapes & sizes including hummingbirds, hearts, snowflakes and more, all reasonably priced to keep the hostess happy.

Article & images used with permission from theweddingdept.com