Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Double Contest (Contest for the Artisans, Giveaway for You)

WE HAVE A WINNER: Congratulations to Shea (Comment #3). She was chosen thanks to the help of! Thank you all for all of your helpful comments and suggestions. Stay tuned for more!

We have a contest (really a giveaway) for you to enter as well! We need your feedback on our new products. Read this post about the results from our Jewelry Contest and then enter the giveaway to win a $20 voucher toward any products on our website!

Our goal is to join traditional art forms and up-cycled materials (old t-shirts, leftover yearn, sticks from my backyard) into beautiful new products. Last class, we gave the women some sample supplies, some ideas and some simple directions. To be honest, we weren't sure what to expect. The jewelry they created shows us how artistic they are. And their smiles and laughter showed us how much fun they had. OK, more than once they were laughing at us trying to say "thank you" in Burmese, Karen, Karenni, Chin and a few other dialects.

But their joy is evident in their work. Here are the contest winners:

The winner in the earring category is Loon, who has only come to HCHT twice. But she proved herself to be one of our most creative and resourceful artisans. She wrapped the traditional yarn from their woven bags around two metal circles and added some beads for these beautiful earrings. I think they're ready to be worn right now! These are probably my favorites.

Ma Lay and Huang Nan tied in the necklace contest. Ma Lay figured out how to combine regular beads with cloth-covered beads. We didn't teach them the process for making these; instead, through trial and error, she figured out a beautiful pattern that's really creative.
I love Huang Nan's double strand brown necklace. Can you see the rings she put in there? And look at the closer picture--her workmanship is pretty amazing! I didn't even know Huang Nan could sew--she's the knitter in our group (we'll put up some hats and gloves from her on the website soon.)

Last was Meh Mo, one of the Karenni weavers, who used traditional weaving methods to twist and tie the yarn with beads.

Meh Mo won the bracelet category with this simple but interesting design. By twisting the yarn in an intricate pattern (the picture doesn't do it justice), Meh Mo made this double string of beads into a bracelet. I like this design, but I think I'd like it even more if we could use acorns or some other natural product the women could find in their neighborhoods. If you have any ideas of how to turn something natural from the Austin area into this kind of bracelet, let us know! 
The last bracelet is one we're working on with the women. The word for "peace" in Burmese (Nyein Chan Yeh) has been burnt into this hand-whittled bracelet; the yarn from their traditional bags has been braided to around the word. Peace in Burma is the constant prayer of our artisans. We want these bracelets to be a reminder to pray for peaceful regime change in one of the most violent and war-torn countries in the world.

Your turn! We want your feedback--what do you like about the jewelry? What would you change? Anything, big or small, will help us move forward with our product development. To reward you for your help, we're going to enter you in a contest as well.

You can win a $20 voucher toward any product you purchase at Here's what you need to do to enter to win:
  1. Share this giveaway on facebook, twitter, through e-mail, or by word of mouth. Tell your friends about our artisans and the work that they're doing here in Austin in as many ways as you can.
  2. Write a comment on our website telling us how you shared about HCHT. Then give us feedback on your favorite product or how you would change any of the prototypes. We'd love to have as many people as we can helping to make these products more beautiful and marketable.
  3. If you tweet and post on facebook, write two comments! Each comment will enter you to win the contest.
The giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday,  January 31. We'd still love your feedback after that, but make sure you get your comments in by then to enter to win $20 off our products! We can't wait to see what you think!


  1. Really Love the necklaces (and earrings..even though my ears aren't pierced). My only suggestion would be to provide more opportunity for purchases to be made-- ie. trunk shows? OR will this jewelry be available at 10,000 Villages? I will say the app you used at Artreach this year (allowing purchases to be made with debit cards--- was genius and allowed me to pick up extra items, I wouldn't have been able to if you had run a cash only sale). So if you decide to do trunk shows, definitely keep that as an option.

    contact Jessica at Noonday Collections (or other locals selling jewelry)

  2. Wow! These women are amazing! I love their creativity. I just posted on Facebook.

    I think my favorite is the necklace that combines cloth covered beads with regular beads. The contrast in colors and fabrics is beautiful and I love that it incorporates their traditional weaving. All the products are great! As for using acorns...great idea, but I'll warn you those things are hard as a rock! I'll keep thinking of something else they could use.

  3. Posted on facebook!

    This stuff is adorable! I guess my only comment would be I would love to see some more colors! So cute!!

  4. LOVE the earrings and the last bracelet with peace on it. I think any of the jewelry that has a direct correlation with the womens country and background, like the bracelet, is compelling.

    Shared on Facebook!

  5. I shared on facebook!

    I like the brown double strand necklace. I am pretty simple with my jewelry. I love having the story behind the artist and the piece that they made. It reminds me to pray for them when I wear their piece and share their story when I get a compliment on the piece I am wearing.

    I also like when they are made from simple materials. I think it shows off the creativity of the artists.

  6. Shared on facebook!

    I love, love, love the last bracelet.... I think it's awesome to incorporate the women's language and culture into the pieces. I also LOVE the idea of a bracelet made from acorns... Kyle may be able to help you with figuring that out. He and the kids make stuff with acorns all the time. :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. My favorites are Loon's earrings, the bracelet by Meh Mo, and the bracelet with the Burmese. I agree with Rachel - this makes it unique. Anything they can incorporate from home - materials, colors, etc - tells their story. Love it.

    Shared on fb :)

  9. I love those earrings. The color combination is awesome. What artistic ladies. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

    I shared on fb, too.

  10. Basically, I would wear all of that jewelry. I especially love the earrings. And the double-strand brown necklace. I LOVE the idea of incorporating the Burmese word for "peace" into the jewelry. I wonder if it would be cute to burn each letter on a separate small bead--then you could do all kinds of things with it (alternate beads with plain beads of different colors, put them all together like the double brown bracelet shown here, etc.). Plus, you wouldn't have to whittle--you could just use an existing bead!

    I posted on FB.

  11. Jess, so impressive! Loved getting to see you this last week and see the jewelry in person. I'm amazed at the talent!
    I think you remember which ones I liked best, the bracelets with peace in Burmese and the little red one with the gold ring. :)
    So proud of you and all that you are doing to help these women!

  12. Oh, and Eva's fave necklace is the one by Ma Lay and Huang Nan. :)

  13. Shea (comment #3) was our winner! Congratulations, Shea!

  14. First, I need to read my blogs more often! Hate that I missed this(or did I read and forget? I have no idea, mommy brain this week!)

    Second, wow, gorgeous! I love that double strand bracelet, the double strand necklace, and the earrings are fabulous!! Enough exclamation points? No.

    Third, I am looking forward to this new venture. I love jewelry, even though I don't wear any. I love to buy it and one day, when I don't have little fingers grabbing and pulling on it, I will wear it again. :)