Category Archives: Uncategorized

Society COLLECTIVE + Giveaway!

Society COLLECTIVE began with Elinor Cripps’ dream of maintaining economic freedom for the indigenous Wayuu women of Latin America. Meet Elinor and discover the extraordinarily beautiful bags that she has brought to Australian shores…

Mochilas are handwoven bags used by the Wayuu to carry food and water across the desert. Every Mochila takes up to one month to make while the weaver takes care of the animals, gathers water, cooks and walks long distances from one community to the next always searching for water, the highest valued good.

Society COLLECTIVE started with an accidental journey to the Colombian desert where I ended up spending a lot of time with the Wayuu. The Wayuu are an indigenous, matriarchal, nomadic culture who roam the deserts between Colombia and Venezuela. They are an incredibly vibrant and passionate culture, having never been subjugated by the Spanish. I was lucky enough to form strong friendships with the Wayuu and be welcomed into their community for a few months.


The Wayuu live in one of the poorest regions of Latin America, and make some of the most beautiful bags I have ever seen… In recent years, the Wayuu way of life has seriously come under threat from overseas mining interests. The Mochilas are a means by which the Wayuu women can maintain independence both economically and culturally.

Every Mochila is a unique piece of art and is the personal and artistic signature of the woman who made it. This weaving tradition stems back thousands of years, and the colorful bags are canvases that reflect the weaver’s worldview.

Mochilas represent a circular cosmology where there is no before and after, but only threads of life spun from one cycle and woven into the next. The surrounding desert, animals, and natural elements all serve as major sources of inspiration for both design and color, such as the patterns of wind on sand, soaring birds of prey, the blazing sun, cactus flowers or rare waterholes.


We base our business model on fair trade practices. This means using our business to tackle poverty and empower producers. We have ensured that the Wayuu receive a premium price for their products and invest additional profits into a nearby school. Most importantly, we have created a transparent business model that gives the Wayuu access to democratic business-making decisions. They set the price, the nature of working hours and conditions as well as the quality of the product.

We are also proud of our commitment to the empowerment of women. By employing Wayuu women to continue their traditional crafts, society COLLECTIVE has helped contribute to their independence both financially and spiritually. Nicholas d. Kristof, explains: “‘Women hold up half the sky,’ in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos…focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.”

The turning point that made me start Society COLLECTIVE was when my bag broke in Columbia. I had been carrying a mass produced bag that had, not surprisingly, barely lasted six months. One of the Wayuu women I was staying with at the time immediately gave me the Mochila she was carrying (I’ve had it ever since). In that moment she gave me a bag that was more than just another mass produced, designed-to-fall-apart, part-of-the-chain-of-consumption product. She gave me something that was part of her story and her world.

Every product has a story, and its up to consumers to decide whether that story is empowering or not. My broken bag, and my new mochila, made me realize I could provide a product that empowered the Wayuu and give fellow Australians a bag that actually lasted, had an empowering story and was incredibly beautiful!

I did my Honours in history at the University of Sydney (Nineteenth Century Hawaiian Mariners on Board Euro-American Whaling Ships… making anyone excited?!) While at university I studied feminism and environmental history. As much as I love writing about these subjects, I wanted to actually implement my ethics in the real world. Society COLLECTIVE has given me the opportunity to do just this.

My advice to other young designers is to stop putting off starting something new. People (myself included) come up with many reasons to not start something – the timing is not right, I’m not sure if I’m ready, it all seems too risky, I’ll do it later, I’ve never done this before… You will never actually know if you are ready to do something until you just do it. I’ve found that with a little hard work, faith in yourself and perseverance anything is possible.

When I’m not working I’m doing sweet, sweet nothing! Well, that’s when I’m not out in the vegie garden hunting caterpillars with a vengeance all in the name of my tomatoes and kale. I’m also a keen surfer spending more of my time in the ocean than on land. I get land sickness!

I couldn’t live without the ocean, organic vegies and my very hairy man.

Right now I am listening to Beirut – check them out!

The last ethical product I purchased was my Sseko sandals (www.ssekodesigns.com). Sseko sandals are made by high school female graduates in Uganda so they can generate enough income to go on to university. Just like society COLLECTIVE, Sseko strives to ensure customers understand that every product ‘has a story.’ I admire Sseko for their commitment to female empowerment and ethical manufacturing.

My favorite Bluecaravan seller is Idear Papergoods. I bought all my Christmas cards from them last year – her stuff is so clever and witty! I love it! I’m hoping all her cards will make my friends and family smile.

In the future… We’re hoping that Society COLLECTIVE gains enough momentum and support so we can return to Colombia and set up a local school for the Wayuu children. This is our driving force right now, and something we know we can achieve!

Visit Society COLLECTIVE

 // GIVEAWAY //         // GIVEAWAY //         // GIVEAWAY //

Elinor Cripps and Society COLLECTIVE are generously giving you the chance to win this exquisite handwoven Mochila valued at $190.00!

*Drawn next Friday the 16th March 2012*

HOW TO ENTER

1 entry = Head over to our Facebook and say ‘Hi’ – how easy is that?!

2 MORE entries = While you are there – be sure to hit the ‘SHARE’ button on the Facebook giveaway post for triple the chance to win….

GOOD LUCK!

Threads of Grace // GIVEAWAY

Social entrepreneur and fashion designer Lilliana Madigan shows us how engaging with disadvantaged women can bring about social change as well as beautiful design. Her label Threads of Grace brings these two elements together, and the result is a fashion range that is stamped with love.

 

 // GIVEAWAY //

 // GIVEAWAY //

Our favorite piece from the Threads of Grace range could be yours!

 A beautiful silk halter top with embroidered detail – available in either blue/black (as shown) or olive green. One size fits all.

To enter, just visit the Threads of Grace giveaway post on our FACEBOOK page, and leave a comment.

“Share” the giveaway with your Facebook friends – and let us know with a separate comment – for a double entry. So easy!

Enter Here

Giveaway with Zinnia Pea!

Entries now CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the winners! jx

With Christabel’s love of literature and tea, Zinnia Pea showcases what happens when interests collide in a beautifully quirky way. By refashioning old white china into practical works of art, Zinnia Pea shows us yet another way to keep sustainability creative and fun…

On the cup: “This is a Tale about a tail—a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin.” And on the saucer:  “He had a brother called Twinkleberry, and a great many cousins: they lived in a wood at the edge of a lake.” Both from Beatrix Potter

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

The lovely Christabel has given us these two gorgeous pieces to give away to a couple of our lucky readers.  Just leave a comment here telling us which one you’d like to have as your own – and voila! There’s an entry.

Good luck!

Jen x

Welcoming 2011 with… Bunting.

Well, here we are in 2011. I’m excited by all that lays ahead, and misty eyed (in a good way) at the sheer mammoth of all the happenings of 2010. What better way to celebrate a wonderful year past and to welcome in another than with… bunting?

I do love it. Even so, I made 100 metres of it in 2010 (with some lovely ladies for an event), and hope that I don’t need to make a 100 metres in 2011.

What I do want for 2011 is:  To spend more time with my family; Take an overseas trip; Continue laughing with my friends; Wash the dishes more often; Exercise more often; Blog more often (!); Be as productive as I can… and of course show Bluecaravan to a bazillion people.

In fact, I think I’ll go and write a list, neatly fold it up, and pop it under my pillow…

Jen x

{source: http://www.opart.etsy.com}

{www.homefromthesea.co.uk}

{www.designismine.blogspot.com}

www.petalplum.blogspot.com

{www.honeykennedy.com}

The art of Upcycling III.

…and to bring it back a little closer to earth…

There are so many beautiful ‘everday’ upcycled & recycled products being created by inspired designers.  By engaging with ‘ethical’ design you encourage innovative designers to keep giving you more!

100% recycled silver necklace by Epheriell

'Nested' by Epheriell. 100% recycled silver.

Vintage linen pillow slips by {old yarns}. Reclaimed French linen.

Vintage linen pillow slips by {old yarns}. Reclaimed French linen.

'Red dot bootie' by Pedsprout. Made from 100% certified recycled plastic bottles.

'Red dot bootie' by Pedsprout. Made from 100% certified recycled plastic bottles.

We’re live!

rubyvictoria

little red lantern

honeybee

Bluecaravan went live’ last week. Hoorah!

My ‘little project’ has turned into a rather large one, and has taken much much longer than ever anticipated…but we’ve made it… with some work still left to do.

With our gorgeous ad in ‘Dumbo Feather…pass it on’ coming out last week, we thought is was a good chance to let you all have a look around to see what we’ve been up to.

Make sure you subscribe to the blog, or register your account on Bluecaravan to get the updates on our progress.

I can’t thank enough the initial designers and artisans who have come along for the ride in these most early days of Bluecaravan. These lovely people have had faith in a project that they couldn’t see until recently.  They have given their precious time to become our ‘pioneer’ sellers, and have been most patient with the process. We love you! You can see who they are here.

I feel so very lucky to have found myself in the midst of a truly inspired, welcoming and open community who have given me advice, support and encouragement to move ahead with Bluecaravan. The very first of which was Sally from Georgie Love.

As far as I know Sally was the trailblazer in creating an Australian  commercial on-line space for quirky independent art and craft. She answered my questions with generous detail despite the fact that our businesses would cross over on some level.

Her attitude was that  building a  community and moving it ahead was not about ‘competition’. It is about supporting each other to develop a niche and bring the world of handmade & independent design into closer view. A woman who truly believes in what she does. Thank you for your help Sally!

We hope that you all love Bluecaravan as much as we do. If you feel so inclined, leave us a message and tell us what you think.

Jen x