What a great idea – so great, I’m stealing it! A ScaRf EXchAnGe!!! A little whacky, fun and practical too! A gaggle of girlfriends gathered in San Diego to have cocktails and a gift exchange -the theme was scarves! At PATRICIAN DESIGN we have several talented fiber artists nestled in the mountains of New Mexico who make exquisite one-of-a kind scarves. Many people are exploring the craft stores for DIY ideas to make their own. In any case, gift exchanges are fun and with a theme like this is focuses the idea and expectations– making it a bit easier to decide what to get and know that everyone can always use a pretty scarf! Decorative, wearable art! http://www.patriciandesign.com/retail/new_products.html
Like little bonnets, the colorful cotton tops that adorn these guava berry preserves make a festive West Indian statement here in the tropical paradise of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. At the same time every year, this round face woman with a beaming smile sets up her roadside table outside her house at the curve in the road on a busy street with a brilliant assortment of homemade jams, jellies, spicy sauces and wine. This island way is an art-form that is slowly fading away. Back in the day, as we are getting sadly so used to saying, many households prepared delightful and delicious treats of the season. Selling them was either a practical practice or one that paired the practical (selling) with a pride of accomplishment, and a decorative presentation celebrating the product, season or region in general. In this instance, these lovely canned sweet and hot treats make happy statements for gifts and just to present with pride and artful design that which she has taken the time to make. This display features an emphasis on bright reds and greens in the fabric patterns suggesting Christmas – but are not limited to that theme in subject matter. Therefore as gifts, they have a wider reach into the year.
As we look toward our upcoming visit to Puerto Vallarta, I see so many possibilities for similar homemade product marketing. Yes the practical food vendors make fresh, warm tortillas and burritos, tamales and posole at home and bring their car trunks full of Tupperware containers to sell to the vendors and laborers for breakfast and lunch each day. This is the aromatic and delicious craft of home-cooking without the adornment – the practical side.
As I ponder the prospects and the value of the happy decorative marketing opportunities, I would love to see a similar celebration of Mexican sauces, jams and treats packaged in canning jars or bottles topped with colorful cotton remnants tied with raffia and presented at produce markets, art festivals, at a roadside table in front of the very kitchen from which they came or along the side streets and even the Malacon. As with anything, to cultivate a following takes time and consistency. Safe food products must gain a reputation for their quality and excellence.
I see the hundreds of Hot Sauces that are bottled here in the Virgin Islands, almost every state in the U.S. and all over the world competing for the best spicy heat and flavor. Chile cook-offs and Spicy Food Festivals abound with a growing following, interest and participation. Visitors love to tasteregional treats. People love to select gifts that are local. Locals love to support their community. There are so many reasons to take the time to create such local treasures.
At the Estudio Café in Nuevo Vallarta (322-297-0820) each Saturday morning, fresh mini-loaves of nutty banana bread are sold by an enterprising young girl in front of the cafe at the art fair along the marina.
I hope to encourage the many talented home-makers in Puerto Vallarta and elsewhere who love to prepare their regional and family traditional treats to venture forth and make their special salsa, can it nicely in a jar, top it with a little fabric remnant (cut with the zig-zaggy pinking shears if possible) and tie with a strand of straw and introduce your special regional flavorful talents and traditions to your friends and visitors!