I was recently contacted by NOVICA, a company which, in association with National Geographic, works to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market.
There is a nation of artists throughout the world – a village of carvers in Bali a family of ceramists in Brazil who have handed down their craft from generation to generation; a farmer in the Andes who hand-weaves alpaca sweaters. It is a community of artists who have been isolated for centuries by distance, time, and geography – isolated from the very community of collectors seeking their unique, inspired, and undiscovered arts and crafts.
NOVICA offers these unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. They have fair trade corporate gifts, green gifts, and home decor items on their website. As well as jewelry, apparel, paintings, and of course the section I spent the most time in Glassware and Tableware.
Ricky from NOVICA asked if I would like to review one of their products and offered me a $75 gift certificate to order whatever product I’d like to review. (He might also have said something like, “OMG! Your strawberry pie looks amazing! Burgers? Cheesecakes? I must be in paradise! =)” ) Well, how could I refuse an offer like that. The only hard part was choosing.
After several days of debating, I order two sets of the gorgeous Cobalt Spiral Blown glass drinking glasses, ‘Spirals of Thought’ from the corporate gifts section.
This set of six classic glasses with a modern touch is perfect for a glass of milk with cookies or a lemonade on a hot summer day. Created by the talented team of Javier and Efrén, they are crafted with hand blown glass methods
These are now my everyday drinking glasses. The blue spirals make me smile. These are solid, hand blown glasses with ridges on the outside where the swirls were added. I love knowing they were hand made in Mexico by Javier and Efrén.
I also ordered this beautiful set of Ate grass baskets made in Bali.
Stately contours define the simple luxury of baskets from Nengah Danantara. The pieces are crafted from ate grass, a fiber recognized for its resistance to heat, water, and insects. “Weaving ate is not as hard as people may think, but it’s not an easy work either. One needs a lot of patience to weave one tiny piece of ate into a basket or bag. “I would like to thank Novica for making my work part of the largest network of artists in the Internet. I hope my products find favor with Novica clients.”
An artisan story card is included with each purchase, along with a nice letter of thanks. I was so impressed with how everything was packaged for shipping. The glasses were separated with heavy duty cardboard and arrived in perfect condition.
I was even more impressed with how the baskets were packaged. It was so fun to receive this in the mail all dressed up with colorful wrapping paper and the creative ribbon/doll. It even came with a hand written Bali postcard saying Warmest Regards. It was like getting a beautiful present. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it. I think it won’t be as much fun ordering from Amazon anymore.
Since they suggested drinking lemonade in the glasses, I thought it would be fun to make a homemade Strawberry Lemonade. I found a Strawberry Lemonade recipe at MyRecipes.com from Sunset Magazine. It had a fabulous flavor, but we thought it was a little too sweet and would add less sugar next time.
I also wanted to baked up something for my little baskets and when Jaime at Sophistimom tweeted about the Cinnamon Tortilla Chips post on her blog, I knew it would be the perfect match for my Strawberry Lemonade. The only changes I made to her recipe were to spread the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar on the tortillas before cutting them and of course, I doubled the recipe. These were so easy and delicious. Next time I’ll have to try them with the fruit salsa.
Now on to the Giveaway: In addition to my gift certificate, NOVICA also gave me a $75 gift certificate to give to one of my readers.
To enter the giveaway leave a comment on this post before Saturday, July 31, 2010 at midnight MST telling me what item you’d like to order from NOVICA if you won. For an extra entry Tweet and/or Stumble about my giveaway (leave a comment for each entry).
The giveaway is open to all my readers. NOVICA ships anywhere in the world and the gift certificate can be used to cover shipping charges. However, it is important to mention that in some countries the winners may be charged import taxes, which would be the winner’s responsibility.
Be sure your email address is included with your comment(s) or your comment will not be consider as an entry in to the giveaway. Good luck!