Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fair Trade: Jewelry with Heart

A group of Washington women visited the mystical Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, several years ago and had the great good fortune to meet Lily Jacobs, a British ex-pat, who lives with her Guatemalan husband in a unique and colorful compound - pastels and lush tropical greenery set against mountain terrain on the mysterious lake that can only be described as Eden-like.

Lily, an artist, had noticed the fine handwork that went into the creation of the native dress of Guatemalan women - whose Mayan heritage is preserved in the vivid colors and detailed handweaving of native design - including the resplendent native bird, the quetzal - into blouses called huipils in colors native to specific regions of the country. But the time involved in weaving made it unprofitable to the women weavers to outfit more than their community.

Lily, seeing their artistry, was determined to help build an industry that reflected the talent and aesthetics of the local peoples, while building a business to profit the families - mostly poor and undereducated - by creating art that could be exported for profit.

Hence, Lilybeads was born. Lily designs new patterns regularly in her studio, then trains local women to create bracelets, earrings and necklaces using native patterns and colors. Lilybeads incorporates Fair Trade practices to marketing the finished product and returning profits to the community so local families can build a sustaining industry based on native traditions and available to the world.

In her own words, "Lilybead comes from my own deep creative drive and from my desire to help the young women of Guatemala improve their lives now and in the future. Together we make the perfect product—Jewelry with Heart."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Three Months" Morphs to Take "The Blue Line"

After playing a benefit for LiveStrong in Howard Co., the band formerly known as "Three Months to Live" has beat the odds for survival into its fourth month. Hence, same band, new name: The Blue Line.

The Blue Line is showing strong signs of life as headliners at The Red and The Black, Thursday, May 28. The club, a cozy tavern and live music venue is located in the H Street Atlas shopping district of Northeast, Washington, DC. Check them out - doors open at 8:30 p.m. with a modest cover. Then kick back and listen to the "Line's" originals, including "Lately," "A Poem for I Don't Know Who," and "My Enemy."

Come early and bring your friends to support the band and check out this emerging arts district - as the Off-Beat Blogger will be doing that evening. When you hit the doors, tell 'em you're there to hear Ben and the guys, in The Blue Line.