I've known Mel since she was a little girl. She is beautiful, athletic, smart, a talented singer and musician, and she is very kind. On her wedding day, held in the backyard of her parents' home, a Monarch butterfly circled her and her new husband, Dave, as they sang to one another during the ceremony. Precisely as the song ended, the butterfly fluttered out of the tent. It was like God had given them His blessing.
Fifteen years later, I'd like to share with you a glimpse of the work that Melody and her husband do in India through a cooperative that Mel began called JOYN.
I'm privileged to own a few products made by this wonderful company. My favorite just might be these shoes gifted to me a year ago by my husband.
Guess who the manufacturer is! The fabric, though, is handmade by artisans who would not have a way to earn a living if not for JOYN. TOMS is all about supporting businesses who help others.
JOYN products, like my pillows here, start out as raw cotton which is first made into yarn and then is handwoven, on looms, to create fabric. I believe they are the only company in India to do the work by hand.
Once the fabric is woven, other artisans use hand chiseled wooden blocks to hand stamp the designs onto the fabric. JOYN chooses not to use machines to weave the fabric or create their designs because they want to provide as many jobs as possible for the under-privileged in India.
Of course, each color of ink requires another step in the process.
I can't get enough of the texture of this cotton fabric!
I like to imagine the hands and hearts that have poured themselves into these works of art.
As a quilter and a maker, the appreciation for beautiful detail like this puts a lump in my throat.
JOYN cooperative is being featured on this season's broadcast of The FIND. This week's show is my favorite so far. Click on the link below to see firsthand how the fabrics are being made. You'll meet Mel, some of the artisans and be blessed. I promise!
(You might like to watch the first two episodes, as well.)
In case you wonder, I wasn't asked or paid to write about JOYN. I just wanted to.