Tulia's Artisan Gallery Blog

Meet the Makers - Artisan Profile #1: Isabel May 17 2016


These whimsical mobiles are the brainchild of Isabel. As a child, she always wanted to be an artist, but opted instead for a career in accounting to please her parents.  After her daughter was born, she returned to her artistic passion and created her first mobile, a dragonfly, for the new nursery. Soon, she was busy making more dragonflies to fill requests by friends and family. 

After going through a divorce, a friend encouraged her to apply to an arts festival. Isabel took out a loan to cover the costs of the booth fees. At the show, she completely sold out & won first prize. The prize was a full refund of the booth fee!  With the loan paid off, Isabel was convinced the business had a future.  
To keep up with demand she asked Johana, her cleaning lady, to help paint. She did such a good job that Isabel hired her full time as a painter.  As business continued to grow, Johana's sister, Luzdary came on board.  Johana and Luzdary have worked for over 11 years with Isabel and love it. They take great pride in having the hands of a surgeon to create such precise stokes for each piece. Each are single mothers and have been able to support their families through their artistic skills.  Originally from Choco, the state on the Pacific coast, they had to escape the armed the conflict and displace to a larger urban city.  Colombia has the world's second largest displacement situation, after Syria with 6.7 million people internally displaced. Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups are disproportionately affected by displacement.
Since working with Tulia's Artisan Gallery, Isabel has been able to double her workforce, employing two more painters, Diana and Andrea. The other members of the business include Isabel's sister and brother-in-law.
Your purchase helps Isabel make an impact in the lives of these women. Isabel hires women who are in difficult situations, with hard manual labor jobs and provides an alternative and more rewarding career with stable income.  These amazing women love what they do.  You can see the full collection of flying mobiles at www.tulias.com.    


About our logo March 02 2016

Tulia's logo is based on a silk stitch design found in many Wounaan plates, baskets, and bracelets.  In addition to having a stylized "T", "A", and "G" for Tulia's Artisan Gallery, it is fitting since the Wounaan collections are the heart of our business.  In Wounaan culture, this design represents a fish hook used by Wounaan fishermen and is called "sinfiquerca" in the Wounaan language.  Our artisans are in the process of collecting artifacts such as these for a cultural heritage museum that they hope to one day build in Bogota.

 The original homelands of the Wounaan are in the lowland forests and waterways of the pacific coast in the state of Choco.  Some communities are 3 hours away from the nearest town via motor boat.  Our artisans are also busy collecting the oral histories of elders still living in Choco to document the use of these artifacts and their knowledge of medicinal plants. 


FishHook Design Wounaan Plate

ALUNA - Tairona Heritage Trust February 01 2016

Tulia's Artisan Gallery donates a portion of each purchase to projects in education and/or cultural preservation in Colombia that empowers indigenous communities.  

In 2015 your purchases helped fund the Tairona Heritage Trust - A project initiated by the Kogi, an indigenous tribe in Colombia, to communicate to the world that we must take care of nature and combat ecocide.  

The Tairona Heritage Trust, a small British-based NGO which, since 1990, has been working on behalf of three indigenous tribes – the Kogi, the Arhuaco and the Assario – living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. These indigenous groups are the descendants of the Tairona civilization which flourished there at the time of the Spanish Invasion.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain on earth, is an isolated triangular pyramid on a separate tectonic plate as the Andes.  Its unique structure means that it is virtually a miniature version of the Earth, with all the world’s climates represented and in which most of the plants and animals of the planet can find homes.                                                                                     
The Kogi are at the forefront of global efforts to combat ecocide.  They have taken the initiative to communicate their message to the world via two documentaries produced by Alan Ereira of the BBC, the most recent of which is ALUNA.  The movie is available for rent on youtube or can be viewed on Hulu.


Aluna the Movie