Thursday, December 3, 2009

VirtuArte Promotes Artisan Fine Arts and Fashion

VirtuArte is not just another source of fair trade products. It is a social business. Its online presence promotes artisans from the developing world in an effort to preserve their craftsmanship.

Scrolling through the Web site is akin to a virtual traveling museum. Start your journey in Niger where the Koumama family strings hand-engraved silver plates onto a fine leather cord worthy of any globetrotter’s neck. Venture next to Laos and stop at Lao Textiles to find Carol Cassidy, an American ex-pat, working with her 32 full-time weavers produce silk scarves embellished with traditional designs for the modern woman.

A. Jabbar Khatri employs the Indian tradition of Bandhani textiles, a tie and dying technique, to create delicate silk shawls complementary for an evening dress or worn to glam up a turtleneck and jeans outfit. From India head to Brazil to acquire a chic clutch made entirely from soda can tabs or Colombia for jewelry fashioned out of tagua seeds and stained with vegetable dyes.

VirtuArte founder Debbie Myers promotes artisans she has encountered through her travels or referred by ex-pats living and working among artisans worldwide. Myers pays the artisans their asking price directly sans negotiating. Profits from sales are reinvested into the company’s education and outreach program and a percentage invested in the artists’ communities.

For Myers, it is more than alleviating artisans out of poverty, it is marketing beautiful art.

“Helping artisans from developing countries generate a sustainable income is definitely an added value,” Myers says. “But we are also about offering high quality fine crafts and art to people who are looking for something unique and have an appreciation for customs and culture.”

It is only fitting that VirtuArte takes its namesake to heart: “the quality of being artistic, beautiful, rare or otherwise such as to interest a collector.” Webster’s Dictionary said it best.

VirtuArte Trunk Shows in December:

The Wintergreen Performing Arts Home Tour
Sunday, 6th of December 2009
1:00 - 5:00pm
Wintergreen , Virginia

Holiday Trunk Show
Saturday, 20th of December 2009
1:00 - 5:00pm
2800 Forest Hills Court
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

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