Purchase a Basket Bag and Support The Johns Town Women's Sewing and Craft Cooperative in Jamaica
Introducing the Basket Bag, for a Limited Time Only!
For $85 (plus tax and shipping) you will not only be supporting a good cause but you will receive a one of a kind Fabric Horse Basket Bag. All proceeds from the Basket Bag will support The Johns Town Women's Sewing and Craft Cooperative located at The Source Farm in St. Thomas, Jamaica.
The Basket Bag came to life in November of 2006 when I visited my friend, Yune Lee who was doing Peace Corps in Cameroon, Africa. I stayed with Yune in her house out in the bush, but we also did quite a bit of traveling. The trip was an eye opening experience as we traveled the country meeting people and absorbing the country’s beauty. I met several people who worked very hard to maintain a sustainable life in hopes to provide more for their children. There was one single mother I met who ran her own bar working diligently so her daughter might have the chance one day to study here in the states. It is quite humbling when you get a chance to visit such an impoverished country. I have enormous amounts of respect for those who can fight their oppression by using their skills and natural talent to live sustainable and fulfilling lives.
While there I purchased a plastic woven tote bag with a hand made wooden bottom and plastic rope for handles. Yune had an identical bag and used it every time she walked to the market. She claimed it was the best thing for carrying produce and was excited about not smashing her tomatoes. What I did not realize at the time was that the bag fit flawlessly into the basket on my single speed road bike and I began using it daily. Not only is it great for commuting around town on the bicycle, it is also handy for packing picnics for those summer trips to the beach. I found so much use for this little guy that I knew other people needed it in their lives as well.
The Fabric Horse Basket Bag is made from 90% recycled materials, vinyl donated by the Design Trust for Public Space, and seat belts from junked cars.
The wooden bottom and sturdy vinyl structure is finished with seat belt webbing and rivets.
Last fall I received an email from Brian Hawkins who worked for a fabrication company located in Brooklyn. He had been working on a project with the Design Trust for Public Space, a not-for-profit organization committed to improving New York City's parks, plazas, streets, and public buildings. The design project held an open, international ideas competition specifically for reinventing the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The top 30 visionary plans were on view in a free, outdoor, public exhibit throughout the center of the Plaza. These top proposals were digitally printed on large sheets of heavy weight vinyl.
Knowing that Fabric Horse recycles and reuses materials, Brian contacted us in hopes that we would want these sheets of vinyl after the exhibit came down. Upon receiving these sheets I realized the digital printing was quite spectacular and instantly saw the possibilities of creating beautiful bags from it.
While working out the production plans for the basket bag I thought these amazing materials would be perfect for the project.
For the past year I have been in contact with Nicola Shirley-Phillips, the former owner of Philadelphia's Jamaican Jerk Hut. I met Nicola a few years back at a fabric swap held by the Philadelphia Sewing Collective. She spotted me from across the room and saw the utility belt I was wearing, she soon thereafter contacted me to customize one for herself. Nicola was selling her business and moving back to Jamaica with her husband where they were planning on doing contract work on land they had recently purchased. Little did I know at the time that she was working towards building an Ecovillage on her land with a group of other talented folks. On top of harvesting sustainable agriculture, and working on inventing the Earthbag House, she has also spearheaded The Johns Town Women's Sewing and Craft Cooperative (JTWSCC). All this is located at The Source Farm, a multi-cultural, intergenerational eco-village, located in Johns Town, in the parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica. Their "...ecological mission and vision is to respect Natural life, its systems and processes - preserving wildlife and botanical habitat, and creating a life-style that regenerates, rather than diminishes the integrity of The Source Farm environment."
The Johns Town Women's Sewing and Craft Cooperative (JTWCC) was founded in 2007 by a group of talented community women who joined together in their mission to increase their sewing skills in order to generate income for themselves and their families. Nicola contacted me hoping that I could visit their cooperative and help them build their skills as strong stitchers and creative designers. Knowing that money needed to be raised in order to fund a trip to Jamaica I decided the Basket Bag was the perfect new product launch to do so. All proceeds from the Basket Bag will go towards the trip including travel, food and expenses while in Jamaica working with JTWCC.
If you are unable to purchase a Basket Bag but still would like to support this venture you can donate anywhere from $5 and up, just scroll to the top of the blog to find the Donate button. Each $5 increment of your donation will buy you a raffle ticket to win a Basket Bag, a customized Utility Belt or Seatbelt Bag from Fabric Horse. This is your chance to help a great cause and possibly win one of your very own one-of-a-kind Fabric Horse bags.
If you have clothing, fabric, buttons, zippers, thread, etc. lying around that you would like to donate to the cooperative you can send it to our studio:
319A N. 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
For more information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.694.9034.
Thank you for all your support!