As I've traveled to see traditional crafts, I gained a deeper understanding that people rich in culture often lack the basics for physical well being. In underdeveloped countries, fine potters and weavers are often among the poorest, living with minimal food, shelter, and health care. On this page, you'll find links to organizations I'm working with that strive to make life easier for people that have shared their art with me. In the case of the Sudanese Education Fund, I've simply been moved by the courage and tenacity of the boys who have been forced to leave their homes.
SWOPA Sirigu Women's Organization of Pottery and Art
Their web site says it best:
In 2012 I raised money to fund a program to train potters in Sirigu, giving them income-generating skills and helping them preserve their traditional culture. To see the video, go to my Indigogo page.
Only a Child (OAC)
Only A Child is a program in Guatemala City that provides a shelter for a small group of street kids. These children, victims of extreme poverty and neglect, are given the first real home they have ever known. The program provides them with social support, health care and educational opportunities. OAC has a carpentry workshop where they are trained to make beautiful mahogany boxes. A group of craftspeople in the Boston area have formed an organization, One Artist at a Time, to sell these boxes wherever we sell our own work. I have these boxes at most of the craft fairs I do and at my studio sales. One hundred percent of the precedes go to OAC. In the winter of 2004 I was fortunate to spend a couple of days in Guatemala City with the boys and fell in love with all of them.
Potters for Peace (PFP)
Potters for Peace works to build an international network of potters concerned with peace and justice issues. PFP aims to provide socially responsible assistance to pottery groups and individuals in their search for stability and improvement of ceramic production, and in the preservation of their cultural inheritance. In Nicaragua they provide technical and marketing support for potters very isolated from the rest of the world. Their projects include developing alternative fuel for kilns so that potters don't have to deplete their limited supply of wood and making clay filters to purify water. I was fortunate to be able to travel with them in 2004 to visit dozens of potters in northwestern Nicaragua. The photograph is of the door to the Ducuale Grande Pottery Collective.
Kopeyia, Ghana School Fund (KGSF)
In 1996 I spent 2 weeks in the small, subsistence village of Kopeyia, studying Kente cloth weaving and enjoying the company of the villagers. The Kopeyia, Ghana School Fund is founded on the concept of providing an education to children from Kopeyia in order that they may construct a secure way of life for their community. The fund supported a primary school who's students are among the best in Ghana. The success of the project made it possible to discontinue it after graduates returned to Kopeyia so start small businesses and fund the school themselves.
Sudanese Education Fund (SEF)
The Sudanese Education Fund is an organization committed to assisting the "Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan," refugees who have resettled in the Greater Boston area. War in southern Sudan has forced these children to flee their homes, generally without any family. SEF is dedicated to helping them receive academic and vocational education. The cow is a symbol of home for these boys, and a portion of the profits of my pottery with cows is donated to SEF.
Collaborations with Howard Glasser
It's been my privilege to put Howard's fine art work on my pottery.
We've presented them at auctions for Folk Music Week at Pinewoods
and a raffle for the Eisteddfod a festival of traditional music in New York City. Howard passed away in 2017 and is dearly missed.
Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
Every July the Arts Market brings together the world's finest traditional master traditional artists to sell their work. Their website says it best. " (W)e envision a world that celebrates and values evolving traditional art and cultures, where a dynamic global folk art market ensures a dignified, sustainable living for folk artists, who are essential to preserving cultural diversity".
Cultural Survival works toward a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance. They sponsor a series of Bazaars (craft fairs) that provide a space for indigenous artists to sell their work.