I am beyond thrilled to be able to finally tell you about a secret project I’ve been working on! The success of The Studio this year has been truly humbling and inspiring, and now that it’s generating the income needed to sustain itself, I want to start giving back to the creative community. But first, a little back story about how this came about…
In 2018 I traveled to Thailand in search of a break from the monotony of office work. It was there that I discovered the world of print-on-demand, teaching online, and actually making money from my art (I’d only known the starving artist stereotype up until then, so it was quite a discovery!). At the same time, I encountered artisans selling beautiful handmade crafts on the street and was in awe of the craftsmanship of their products, ridiculously low price of each item, and the calloused hands of the makers.
Some of these artisans were elderly women carrying heavy stacks of baskets on their backs, or mothers sitting on the side of a busy highway, exhaust fumes in their faces and their babies in a crib nearby, just hoping for a sale so they could go home and cook dinner for their families. From my apartment window, I watched a woman who made and sold handmade brooms on a street corner sneak into a construction site at night so she could bathe in a barrel full of dirty rain water that had been sitting there for days.
As I watched these makers from the window of my comfortable apartment, making artwork on my iPad and getting paid for it, I couldn’t help but wonder, “why me?”. How did I have the good fortune to be a creative born in a country where I could get the skills and support I needed to live such a comparatively perfect life?
I kept thinking to myself, “What could be done to help these hard-working, clearly-deserving makers who get up every day and use their bodies to build beautiful objects that fill people’s homes with beauty and joy”. I even tried to find charities that support artisans around the world but always came up blank. Then I recently discovered Kiva, a charity that gives loans to small businesses around the world who are in need, and I instantly knew this was the opportunity I had been looking for.
Right away, I started setting goals and making plans for how The Studio could make monthly contributions to Kiva. Starting this month, The Studio will loan $500 a month to creative business owners in need around the world! Each month, members will support artisans and craftsmen like weavers in Guatemala who need funds to buy thread, bark cloth makers in Tonga who need mulberry and dyes to produce their cloth, and woodcarvers in El Salvador who need wood and tools to make vases and figurines to sell at local markets. I’ll keep members updated on exactly who we’re supporting each month, so everyone can see the makers and the products they produce.
From Day 1, The Studio has been all about providing resources and inspiration for creatives who are ready to take the next step in their creative journeys. This monthly donation to Kiva shares the same mission: to support creatives in need who have a clear goal but need a little help to get to the next level.
Thank you to all the Studio Members who are helping make this long-time dream a reality!