Haitian Folk Art Gecko Keychain
Take a vacation from routine and unlock a lively paradise with these fabulously frisky fellows! Symbolizing transformation and long believed to bring good luck to those they visit, geckos -- that most whimsical reptile -- take center stage, lending a lighthearted air of island-living to an everyday accessory.
To create these folk art pieces, old steel drums are burned to remove their coating, sliced open, and flattened. The artists then sketch designs on them, and sculptors cut the desired shape and create depth by embossing areas with rounded hammer ends. A non-toxic, rust-preventative primer is applied, artisans paint on designs, then the final product is varnished.
These crafts are created by multinational group of young entrepreneurs. The company works to promote employment in Haiti by teaching unskilled workers trades. They also help independent artists find new markets. The company currently employs about 400 people, half men and half women.
Each purchase provides an extra donation to GROW -- Girls' Right to Opportunity Worldwide. Through this program girls in developing countries are provided the opportunity to attend secondary school, in turn providing them with a economically better, healthier future.
- Calypso, Caribbean or Salsa
- Split-ring design
- Approximately 4" L x 3" W (10.2 x 7.6 cm)
- Handmade in and fairly traded from Haiti
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Artisan: Caribbean Craft
Known for its originality and ingenious use of recycled materials, Port-au-Prince - based Caribbean Craft has cultivated an enthusiastic international following with its jubilant folk art since 1990. Founded to address Haiti's high unemployment rate, it provides artisan training, design assistance, and export outlets for over 500 artisans. Along with fair wages, the network provides health and accident insurance, a pension system, and interest-free loans when needed. By earning a living through their unique creations, talented artisans find new empowerment and hope for the future.
Haiti has long been known for its vibrant tradition of colorful, inventive folk art, and there's no better example of inspired Haitian style than Caribbean Craft's oil drum art. Recycled steel drums are molded into ornate forms celebrating local folklore, voodoo, and other mystical and religious symbolism. Other recycled resources, such as empty cement bags, are used to created festive papier-mâché items such as ornaments, piggy banks, and serving trays.
Caribbean Craft's long-term goal is to continue as a conduit for the diversity and vision inherent in Haitian design while producing ecologically sustainable products.
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