"We have art in our blood... We believe in it. That's ours. It is passed from father to son, mother to daughter." - Pascale
Tonight, we met the most amazing Caribbean mom, wife, entrepreneur, artist, and humanitarian at the Heart of Haiti event held in Macy's at Metro Center, Pascale. She is an acclaimed artist who has been creating papier-mache and mixed media pieces her whole life. Pascale manages the organization of artists that creates works of art for Heart of Haiti.
When you live in the poorest country in the Caribbean, finding hope is difficult to say the least. The Heart of Haiti collection has led to the employment of 450 artists in Haiti and has financially benefited approximately 5,000 people there. Artists use local materials to create quilts, bowls, wall hangings, metal sculpture, and more. The people want to work - a trait that many people from the Caribbean exhibit - and find pride, self-worth, and hope in being able to use their craft to provide for their families.
If you have not heard of Heart of Haiti, it is a line of beautiful works of art carried in Macy's stores and online. Each piece is handcrafted by artisans in Haiti, and purchases directly benefit them and their families, many of whom, including Pascale, lost everything in the earthquake in January 2010.
Two years later, many Haitians are still struggling to feed, clothe, and educate their families. This collaboration between American designers and Haitian artists is giving men and women in Haiti the confidence, strength, and pride that many of them lost in the devastation. Caribbean traditions are often passed down from generation to generation, and by supporting Heart of Haiti, we can help to ensure that these artists are not forced to leave the country. They can stay, work, and train the next generation of Caribbean artists. Social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, launched the Heart of Haiti as a "trade not aid" initiative in cooperation with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy's.
This holiday season, think about giving gifts with a story. When you give a gift with a story, especially one as compelling as this one, that story will be shared and passed down like the Caribbean stories that have been shared among the islands and traveled to the United States with Caribbean Americans.
As a homeschooling mom, I am always looking for opportunities to use what is real in the world to teach my kids. Heart of Haiti is also a wonderful teaching opportunity for you and your family. I asked my husband recently if compassion is innate or taught, and he said, "both". Check out the website with your children, and let them "meet" the different artists and read their stories. Allow them pick out a gift for a family member from the site, or a nice piece for their own wall.
The event was wonderful, and bloggers and shoppers were able to get some early Christmas shopping in as well as touch and feel the pieces that we have seen online. Since I was introduced to the brand last year at Blogalicious, I have noticed that the line has grown considerably, giving shoppers even more choices.
Haitians living in America have had few trustworthy options in supporting their home country. This holiday, give with your heart - shop Heart of Haitii, exclusively at Macy's.
Photos from the event coming soon!
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