Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughts on Buying Local This Holiday Season

Glancing through the Wall Street Journal yesterday morning, I was reminded on why this year I decided to focus on buying from local or small businesses.

A fire in a Bangladeshi clothing factory has killed at least 117 employees.  You can read the article here.

I mourn for those fellow seamstresses that lost their life, friends and employment.  I mourn more for the way that they were treated in their workplace. 

I love to travel.  I enjoy learning about different cultures and experiencing those cultures first hand.  I have been fortunate enough to travel to several countries in Asia and Europe.  Through my travels I have learned that life in Asia is cheaper compared to life in the United States.  But for those living in those countries, life is hard and there is little money to go around.  The November 25th, 2012 Wall Street Journal reported that in Bangladesh “the government recently raised the minimum wage 80% to $38 a month.”  I cannot even imagine living with that as my income in addition to having a poor working environment. 

Being a small business owner I understand the importance of reducing my cost of goods so that I can make a decent profit.  But in reducing my cost of goods, is it reducing some ones ability to live a decent life?  I hope not.

Apples and Tea Reversible Apron by Austin Wayne Designs
 This year I focused on buying local food through shopping at various neighborhood farmers' markets.  It has not been the most convenient form of purchasing food, but every week I know that what I spent there goes directly to the farms.  It stays near.  I have not been able to purchase all of my food at the farmers markets, I am not sure if that will ever be possible.  At least 75% of my food budget goes local.

For this holiday season, I have decided to focus on purchasing gifts for friends and family from local artisans or small businesses.

Shopping local and small takes more energy, time, money, discipline and planning than shopping at large corporation stores.  I know that my decision to shop local and small will probably not make a difference in creating safer and better work environments for people in foreign countries.  What I do know is that shopping local and small makes a difference in those people near to me.  I am making a difference in my neighbor’s life.  Giving them the opportunity to do what they love and live the life they want.

If more people shop local and small, then demand for cheaper labor would decrease.  Thus allowing poor work environments for those people would diminish. 

Posted by Austin Wayne Designs

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Call for Craftivists!

ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, NY, a non-profit activist art organization, is currently seeking art for an exhibition on craftivism set for November/December 2013. If you would like your work to be considered for this group exhibition please contact We are looking for fiber work of all shapes and sizes and on a wide range of social/environmental issues.

In your email include either a website link where we can view your work or attach up to five images. 
Deadline: January 13, 2013 

About ArtRage: 
The ArtRage mission is to exhibit progressive art that inspires resistance and promotes social awareness; supports social justice, challenges preconceptions and encourages cultural change. Our goal is to provide ArtRage visitors with an experience that encourages the breakdown of boundaries so that people can see themselves in the work and then in one another. And that, we believe, is the seed of a movement for cultural and social change.

Submitted by

Kimberley McCoy
Community Engagement Organizer
ArtRage Gallery
505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York 
ArtRageous art for peace & social justice