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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Challenges and a little success

Today was a big day--we presented the women with their envelopes of cash for the items they've sold so far. The envelopes were fancy and personalized to make the moment a bit more special. Applause and pride all around. Haiffaa suggested that the women should be giving Anna and I a cut of the profits for the work we do. The day will come when a percentage of sales goes back into the "business," but not yet and certainly never to us.

We made stretch bracelets today. I thought it would be a good confidence booster, especially for those who've struggled with crimps and findings. Who doesn't appreciate instant gratification? The students were prolific in their bracelet production, especially Anna's teen group (which may have skewed a little pre-teen today). Those of us doing the teaching are trying very hard to convey the concept of "This is just practice--you can do it over."

Today was also "critique and quality control day." This was a tough thing because anyone who makes jewelry will tell you how personal the process is. Overall, I would say that the discussion went well and the women clearly understood what kind of changes they need to make--as well as design tweaks--in the future. Actually, the women were very eager to know how to make their work better, and I don't know that all artists would have been so open minded in that situation.

No class next week as it will be Eid al Fitr, the end of Ramadan. This is a huge holiday for the Muslim women in our group. We hope that the students will be more focused after Ramadan wraps up--this holy time has had its own demands that have kept many of our students busy with other things. Can you imagine taking jewelry classes in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day?

We hope to scope out some pre-holiday craft fair possibilities this week so we know how much jewelry we need to plan for in the immediate future. So much to do, and only 24 hours in a day...less if we sleep.

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