News

A Fair Trade Business: An Artisan's Perspective

With politics in utter chaos and so much bad news coming from Brazil we thought that it's important to underscore the fact that ordinary people in Brazil are extraordinarily resilient and still manage to survive and thrive.

Escama Studio has been working in Brazil with 65 artisans since 2004. Over that time we've made 200,000 bags and our products sell in 30 countries worldwide. From our perspective, this venture has been a great success: it's sustained us and we're proud of what we've accomplished. But we wanted to hear from the artisans what their experience has been over the past 12 years.

So today we interviewed one of the artisans, Angela Bezerra

Ethical Fashion from Escama Studio
 
ES: Hello Angela, when did you start working as an artisan making bags?
ANGELA: I started 10 years ago, in 2006.
ES: What feelings do you have when you make all of these items with your own hands?
ANGELA: I feel really good. I feel like I am important and useful and that I'm still active in the labor market at the age of 62. It's the kind of work that brings me well being. I'm always willing and I feel encouraged.
ES: How is the experience of working with a group of other women?
ANGELA: The contact with this group of women sharpens my creativity. I feel flattered when we deliver the finished pieces, they're very beautiful.
ES: We are selling to people all over the world, how does that make you feel?
ANGELA: To see the recycled material turn into a work of art created by my hands, appreciated by customers worldwide is something that brings me a lot of responsibility, but this doesn't translate into difficulties. I know that the reputation of our work comes down to commitment and dedication. That's what makes me infinitely responsible.
ES: What has changed since you joined this project?
ANGELA: The changes are numerous beyond just the financial aspects. It makes me feel good to talk about what I do, to my family, friends and community. I love to tell them that we export to the world and that we are connected with the current market. We are many women who help each other. We are an example in our community of strong and important women.
ES: What have you done or bought for your family recently?
ANGELA: I could buy some things for the home but the most important thing is to assist my husband and to give gifts to my children and grandchildren. It makes me feel very good about myself.
ES: Have you had a moment lately when you thought "I'm Really Happy"?
ANGELA: I love what I do every day!

 

Escama Studio @ISRI Convention 2016

Just in time for Earth Day, Escama Studio will be attending the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, April 2-7. ISRI has been super supportive of Escama Studio to attend the event and they've been fans of our recycled aluminum handbags for some time. We've never been involved in this type of a forum before and it's possible that conference attendees will be scratching their heads wondering why we're there --  ISRI members are manufacturers and processors, brokers and industrial consumers of scrap metals, paper, electronics, rubber, plastics, glass, and textiles. But who knows, maybe the people who truly understand the material in our recycled aluminum purses will be big fans! Either way, we're thrilled to have a chance to meet so many people who are involved in the industry and it's bound to be a great place to learn and network.

So if you happen to be attending ISRI 2016 or if you just happen to be in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay please stop by and say hello. We'll be in the lobby, dressed in this recycled aluminum Valkyrie outfit. (Joking)

March 06, 2016

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International Women's Day 2016 List of Events Around the World

A partial list of #IWD2016 Events in the U.S., Australia, the U.K., France, Germany. For a more complete listing of #IWD2016 events worldwide, please visit the country-by-country listing on the International Women's Day site.

WOW-WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL. LONDON, UK. March 8 - 13, 2016

Returning for its sixth year, the week-long WOW festival takes place in the week of International Women’s Day (8 March) and features over 150 events, including talks, debates, live music, comedy, workshops, our smash-hit WOW Speed Mentoring and the WOW Market.

 

TECH CITY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY SHOWCASE 2016.

LONDON, UK, March 8, 2016

An evening showcase of women-led businesses & projects across technology & the creative industries, all ticket sales go to a local charity.

 'THE WILL TO FLY' -- MOVIE PREMIERE. MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. MARCH 8, 2016 

Feature length sport documentary from Australia, "Lydia Lassila: The Will To Fly" supports the grassroots community and educational movements empowering young women to realize their maximum potential in all areas of life.

PARIS LEAN IN -- IWD AFTER WORK DRINKS & CELEBRATION.                    PARIS FRANCE MARCH 8, 2016

 OECD CONFERENCE ON IMPROVING WOMEN'S ACCESS TO LEADERSHIP. PARIS FRANCE, MARCH 8 2016

Discussions on including women in decision-making positions, and the impact on broader social and economic outcomes. Identifying the risks, opportunities and necessary conditions of different policy choices for closing gender gaps in public institutions and companies.

WOMEN IN ISLAM. BERLIN, GERMANY. MARCH 11, 2016

A seminar and fun day program to learn about women in Islam, only for women.

IWD TECH CELEBRATION. MUNICH, GERMANY. MARCH 8, 2016

Munich participating the global series of Geekettes events for IWD, sponsored by Intel Software! Join us for several activities and presentations exploring different aspects of Technology. The event is open, meaning you can arrive anytime during the event.

The following is a partial listing of events in California 

LONG BEACH, CA

MENLO PARK, CA

REDWOOD CITY, CA

SACRAMENTO

SAN FRANCISCO

STANFORD, CA

 

March 03, 2016

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International Women's Day 2016 Events in California

Here is a listing of events in California for International Women's Day 2016. Most events are happening on May 8 but some occur on the weekend before International Women's Day (Lunafest). A comprehensive listing of global events for International Women's Day can be found on the International Women's Day website.

LONG BEACH, CA

MENLO PARK, CA

REDWOOD CITY, CA

SACRAMENTO

SAN FRANCISCO

STANFORD, CA

Escama at the Dali Museum

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

“Escher at the Dali” features prints, drawings, a sculpture, wood blocks, a lithograph stone and posters drawn by the artist to explain his printing techniques. The exhibit will delve into his exploration of infinity through tessellation, in which shapes fit together perfectly without overlapping, including an enormous woodcut “Metamorphosis” (1939-40) which spans 13-1/2 feet.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

“Escher at the Dali” features prints, drawings, a sculpture, wood blocks, a lithograph stone and posters drawn by the artist to explain his printing techniques. The exhibit will delve into his exploration of infinity through tessellation, in which shapes fit together perfectly without overlapping, including an enormous woodcut “Metamorphosis” (1939-40) which spans 13-1/2 feet.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

 

Escher at the Dali Museum

Escama products are now selling at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. This is a big deal for us. It's our dream to be in museums, especially the architecturally stunning Dali. Our bags should fit well with the current exhibition on M.C. Escher. Escher's work frequently uses 'tessellation'  (a word that means 'a repeating pattern of geometric shapes'). Escama handbags also have this repetitive overlapping pattern of geometric shapes.

The Escher show opened at the Dali Museum in August  and will run through January 3, 2016. It will be followed by the exhibition Disney & Dali: Architects of the Imagination,  a great show that recently ran in San Francisco at the Disney Museum.

M.C. Escher, is best known for his “impossible constructions”, or visual illusion puzzles. The exhibition is on loan from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, and features 135 works covering Escher’s entire career. The show includes his most famous works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with the fundamental question of visual art -- What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with this incredible detail, superb visual perception and skilled hand. Tessellation: Escher and Escama handbags


 

Escama Studio bags are available at Dali Museum Ft. Lauderdale FL

The Gift Shop at the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
 

The Dali Museum's stunning new facility opened in 2011 and has a glorious 5,000 sq. ft. store. It has the largest collection of Dali’s work in the world outside of Spain. 85% of the merchandise in the store is custom-made and is directly related to images in the collection. Escama Studio is honored to be selected to be a featured product in this great gift shop.

November 20, 2015

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Gypsy Inspired Elegance: Lamija Suljevic's Handmade Collections

Young Swedish Designer, Lamija Suljevic of Beckmans college of design, draws inspiration from life in Paris and a childhood in Bosnia. Learning to sew as a child from her mother in Bosnia, Lamija has said that aspects of her design refer back to memories of gypsies who lived in an abandoned bus in her old neighborhood. At 23 she has has already launched two collections. Photos of her work by Marcus Sӧder, the editor of BON magazine are fantastic.

Here is a brief bio of Lamija Suljevic fom Not Just a Label

Lamija Suljevic is part of the new generation of Swedish designers. Born in Bosnia, she fled from the war torn country to Sweden at the young age of 5. After becoming a fashion graduate of design, Lamija's interests turned to tailoring, and she has since completed a course in pattern design and dress making at the local Cutting Academy. Lamija's designs pay tribute to her roots and origins, and aim to blend the realms of fashion and art. in her latest collection she draws inspiration from the Balkans. Lamija is inspired by handicraft and luxurious traditional hand-made techniques. Her goal is to bring back handmade crafts.

Film by Marcus Sӧder

For more about Lamija Suljevic, here is a great interview from Volt Cafe.

A Sustainable Life in Art & Fashion

Sara Basehart is a friend of ours who has a colorful life that's rich in art, fashion and creativity. From her home, to her business and her art, re-purposing and recycling plays a role in everything she does. And it's done with panache. Hers is a story that we had to share it on the blog.

Hi Sara, thank you for talking with us!

Escama: You live in Taos, NM. What’s it like? It seems like it has its own thing going on, far removed from the hipster circuit of Portland, Austin, San Francisco, Brooklyn. How do you describe Taos?

Sara: Taos is unique in many ways. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains it’s a mesa crossed by deep gorges and sagebrush, with a sky so wide open the sunsets often empty restaurants. Diners are drawn outside to stare at the sky in amazement as it fills with colors too intense to describe with mere words. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, we still see enough snow that our ski valley is world famous. Culturally, we are diverse with strong influences from the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and creative influences from Spain, Mexico, and over a hundred years of being an art colony. But my favorite thing about Taos is how it is so genuine, so real, in a world where so many people feel stifled, Taos sets you free to be anything you can imagine.

Escama: Sounds like someplace that we need to visit. Is that where you’re originally from or did it pull you in?

Sara: I am originally from Oxford, Mississippi. If there was an opposite to Taos this might be it. I grew up as a reluctant southerner in a community that really wished I would just stop being so weird. Luckily, my mom saw the creative potential in me and always encouraged me to embrace opportunity. A year abroad in high school changed my life when I realized there was a whole world out there. I got back off that plane in MS with a blue Mohawk and a big smile on my face as my small town collectively had an aneurysm at the sight of me. I knew then that I’d be leaving the South behind. It took until after college, but I stumbled into Taos, NM in 1991 and it was like coming home. Hard to describe it, but imagine an inexplicable desire to weep with joy because you are so alive, so happy, so overwhelmed with the potential of each new day…I still feel that way after 24 years.

Trashion in Taos, NM

Escama: You have your own shop there, Seconds Eco Store. Do you have a particular fascination with recycled things?

Sara: My husband and I built our own home out on the mesa west of Taos. It is called an earthship- an off grid house constructed of recycled materials. They are common in this area, and there are hundreds of them the world over. Instead of trying to explain them, I’ll just say you can find more information at www.earthship.com. So, we spent years building our beautiful recycled house and as we grew up and had babies I stopped working my more conventional jobs and began crafting at home and costuming for our local schools. At some point I had an epiphany that I should be doing everything with recycled materials and it caused an explosion of creativity in my life. The concept of my store started as a secret dream, one I talked of only to my husband always starting with “Someday…” After 9 years of dreaming about it, I finally found the right space to pursue it and now we are in our 6th year of business!

Escama: Your shop, Seconds Eco sells cool recycled products but you also have a broader mission with your shop, an educational component?

Sara:Our mission is to bring the fun back into being green. To help people see that recycled also means clean new products made from old materials. We also have a strong element of solar power to many items in the store, from solar toys and lights to radiometers and solar chargers. Ideally we’d like to do crafting classes and workshops, but haven’t gotten that far yet. I realized soon after opening that the administrative duties of keeping a store open and running would severely limit my crafting time, and one of the ways I deal with that is to teach people how to make the things I wish I had time to do, provide them with the materials, and then buy back the finished product. That way we can spread a little bit of our success around our community and enable people to make a little side income when they have complicated lives.

Escama: Now comes the big question…. Your interest in recycling doesn’t stop there, you also create fashion out of trash (“trashion”), right?

Upcycled Dress at Seconds Eco Store

Sara: In Taos there has been a recycled runway called The Glam Trash Fashion Show since 2001. I used to watch it every year and think “I really want to do that! But I’m too busy.” Then, finally, in 2012 I participated in my first show. It was incredible! I found that my costuming background combined with my varied crafting skills gave me a special ability to make pretty much anything I could think up. At this point I am now one of the main organizers of our annual runway, and it is the highlight of my year. The dress I made last year is in a museum in Albuquerque and my new dress is in my store downtown in Taos being actively worked on right now! Finding a hidden talent within myself as an adult has been inspirational and quite a lot of fun.

Escama: That’s awesome. When I was a kid in elementary school I glued macaroni bow tie pasta to a Cambell’s soup can and then spray painted it silver. (it’s a family heirloom and who knows, it may have been the earliest inspiration for Escama Studio). Do you have one thing that you can remember that got you interested in creating fashion from trash, ‘trashion’?

Sara: It was watching all the creativity on the runway at the Glam Trash Fashion Show. In a town full of artists, you can imagine the incredible outfits. It was inspiring and intimidating at the same time. I had always altered my clothing, ever since I learned to sew when I was around 8 years old, and I always made my own Halloween costumes too, but creating high couture in unexpected alternative materials wasn’t on my list until watching the GTFS.

Trashion at Seconds Eco Store, Taos NM

Escama: I did a Google search on the word ‘trashion’ and I was amazed to see that there are ‘trashion’ fashion shows and contests all over the place – from Hawaii to Alaska and even in New Zealand and Calcutta! How deep into it are you? Do you just do the Trashion show in Taos NM or do you also travel and compete?

 Sara: At this point, I do try to make one outstanding piece and compete within NM in order to try and win cash prizes to bring home and use as cash prizes in our own contest. I’m sure it would make more sense to most people to write grants and apply for donations or something, but I don’t know how to do that. Last year I managed to win $1000 in varied contests. And I did try to apply for the world famous World of Wearable Art contest in New Zealand, but I filled out the application last minute as I was boarding a plane to Mexico for an adventure and I was disqualified because I rushed and didn’t follow all the application instructions. I still had a great time in Mexico though!

Escama: I’ve heard of the Art Car Parade in Houston (we sell to the Beer Can House / Orange Show Center for the Visual Arts) is there any overlap with ‘Trashion’ fashion people and Art Car people??

Sara: That, I do not know. Not here anyways.

Escama: Where are some of the ‘must go’ places / events in the world of ‘Trashion’?

Sara: I’m still a small town girl. I would have to say Taos’ Glam Trash Fashion Show is the best one ever, anywhere. But that’s just my opinion.

Escama: Okay, finally, can you share some of the best ‘Trashion’ pieces that you have created, or show some outstanding pieces that you have seen?

Sara: With pleasure! These are all mine, but there are many, many incredible outfits all over the internet by artists from all over the world.

The Finished Dress

Thanks Sara!!