December 27, 2010

Spirit Guides by Hagar, An Etsy Treasury for the TAFA Team!

Spirit Guides

Visit this wonderful treasury and click on the shops you would like to visit.  A nice Welcome to the New Year

December 20, 2010

Christmas longing from Israel to Mandawa

 A painted door at Desert Resort Mandawa

Women painting wall decorations 
in Desert Resort Mandawa

By Hagar Arnon Elbaz of Gilgulim
Here in Israel, we do not celebrate Christmas nor is it our vacation period. But growing up in Jerusalem (a ten minute drive from Bethlehem) made Christmas difficult to ignore. My German grandmother who immigrated to Israel on 1939 had school friends in Germany who used to send her Christmas cards and presents during this period of the year. The shiny cards scattered with gold and glittering with "diamonds" were given to me. I treasured these cards and was sure these were the most beautiful gifts in the entire world. Christmas was like a far away dream. 
Later on, my mother who was a Hebrew teacher was invited on Christmas Eve to the Finnish mission where two of her students served. Oh, this was an unforgettable evening. One should remember that Israel during the sixties of the last century was sort of a grayish place due to its poverty. Those fabulous green, red and gold colors at the mission were so bright and the choir sang as if coming straight from heaven.  We children could hardly breathe from amazement. When I grew up I came to know every church in the old Jerusalem and went to listen to the midnight mass.

 View of Mandawa palaces

For the last ten years I have gone to visit the neighboring Franciscan women's monastery situated on the hill opposite my house. The Mass is sung in Hebrew and Arabic as well as in all the languages spoken by the nuns who come from all over the world.

 Street Routine on Mandawa

But, last year I was in India.  It breaks my heart with longing to think about it, I miss India so much! On Christmas Eve we came back to Delhi from Mandawa.  I want to go back there so much and I will surely will!

Sewing class

This year we are going down to Eilat by the Red Sea. It has nothing to do with Christmas.  I am sure we will meet thousands of tourists who come to Eilat searching for sun in the middle of winter. I feel peculiar not being on the Franciscan monastery for one more Christmas Eve. I promise to send postcards from Eilat.

December 17, 2010

Patches of Fire and Ice Treasury by Hagar

A beautiful treasury of our TAFA Team!

by Hagar

Click to go visit, leave a comment and visit our shops! 

December 10, 2010

The Oshiwa Shop on Etsy: Lots of new textile stamps!

Oshiwa Printing Stamps

The Oshiwa Namibia Team is a small fair trade carving group that focuses on making carved wood stamps and frames.  The stamps are available in their Etsy shop:

The stamps can be used to print on fabric or paper and to press into clay or soap.  Beautifully carved out of Wawa wood, why not use them as pieces of art in themselves?  Attach hangers on to the backs and hang them on the wall.  (A great guy gift!)  The Oshiwa sets have been assembled with continuity in mind and would look great as a wall unit:

Oshiwa Printing Stamps

Oshiwa made a conscious decision to go green with their wood:  the wawa wood comes from Ghana's Department of Forestry, harvested from wood grown as part of a sustainable forestry project.  Prices reflect the sourcing of the wood, paying fair wages to the artisans and shipping the stamps to the United States.  What?  They are in the United States?  Yes.  Due to the difficulty of shipping and making financial transactions from Namibia, Oshiwa has partnered with Rayela Art to market the stamps.  Rayela Art is based in Kentucky, USA, and Oshiwa stamps can be shipped together with any purchases made from the Rayela shop or the Afghan Tribal Arts shop.  All three of us are members of the TAFA Team.

Carving an Oshiwa textile stamp.

Many of our TAFA members dye and print on fabric to make their own designs.  Stamping with Oshiwa designs can produce lovely results!  Some examples:

Aren't they all just stunning?  The Oshiwa shop is now stocked with a great selection of sets and there are about 100 single stamps that still need to be listed.  Check the shop for new additions in the next week or so.  The single ones make great stocking stuffers for the artist in your family.  The stamps are priced by square inch with the sets reflecting a 15% discount.  They are the best investment for any serious fiber artist working with surface designs.

For more information on Oshiwa and the stamps, visit  You will find info on both how to use and care for the stamps.

 Happy Holidays from the Oshiwa Namibia Team!

December 6, 2010

Stocking Stuffers from the Textile and Fiber Art List on Etsy

Do you have someone in the family or a friend who appreciates hand work?  Textiles? Fiber Art?  This treasury has some finds that would fit in a stocking, the perfect small item for that special person.

Visit the treasury and leave a comment!

Visit our Catalog of Shops on this blog to see almost 100 Etsy shops filled with fiber treasures by our TAFA members.  Click on the tabs at the top of the blog to explore the categories.

December 5, 2010

Hot Items for Special People, A Gilgulim Etsy Treasury

Another great TAFA Treasury by Hagar from Gilgulim!

Leave a comment and click away!

December 4, 2010

Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah) from the Textile and Fiber Art List

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.

Hanukkah Traditions

Every community has its unique Hanukkah traditions, but there are some traditions that are almost universally practiced. They are: lighting the hanukkiyah, spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods.
  • Lighting the hanukkiyah: Every year it is customary to commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting candles on a hanukkiyah. The hanukkiyah is lit every night for eight nights. Learn more about the hanukkiyah in the article, What Is a Hanukkiyah?
  • Spinning the dreidel: A popular Hanukkah game is spinning the dreidel, which is a four-sided top with Hebrew letters written on each side. Read The Hanukkah Dreidel to learn more about the dreidel, the meaning of the letters and how to play the game. Gelt, which are chocolate coins covered with tin foil, are part of this game.
  • Eating fried foods: Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and then served with applesauce. Sufganiyot (singular: sufganiyah) are jelly-filled donuts that are fried and sometimes dusted with confectioners’ sugar before eating. Learn more about Hanukkah food traditions in the article, Hanukkah Food Traditions.
Read the full article and learn about Hanukkah here.

Hanukkah has eight days of gift giving.  Usually, you get one pricey gift and then the others are smaller, more like stocking stuffers.  TAFA can be your one stop shopping destination for Hanukkah gifts: we have both large and small.

You can explore the tabs at the top of this blog to visit our Catalog of Shops.  Or, you can also visit Etsy and see several pages of our TAFA members who have tagged their items with TAFA.  Click Here.  Right now we have 13 pages of eye candy!

While you shop, enjoy the good humor of Jon Stewart and Adam Sandler:

Happy Chanukah!!!

December 3, 2010

TAFA Style: An Outfit by the TAFA Team on Etsy

I went shopping in my dreams and put together an outfit I would wear....  All by our TAFA Team members!  Beautiful work!  Click on the link and go visit.  Leave a comment and click on the items- send us to the front page on Etsy!

This is just a small sampling of the beautiful apparel and accessories you will find from our Team.  Explore our Catalog of Shops by clicking on the tabs below the banner on this blog.  

December 1, 2010

The TAFA Team on Etsy Sees Red

Raspberry Ice Paillette Party Wrap

Sin, guilt, pain, passion, blood, and anger


Red is used as a symbol of guilt, sin and anger, often as connected with blood or sex. A Biblical example is found in Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." Also, The Scarlet Letter, an 1850 American novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, features a woman in a Puritan New England community who is punished for adultery with ostracism, her sin represented by a red letter 'A' sewn into her clothes. This all comes from a general Hebrew view inherited by Christianity which associates red with the blood of murder, as well as with guilt in general. Often, things will be in red to scare. Another popular example of this is in the phrase "caught red-handed", meaning either caught in an act of crime or caught with the blood of murder still on one's hands. At one point, red was associated with prostitutes, or now, with brothels (red-light districts). In Roman Catholicism, red represents wrath, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. In Christianity, Satan is usually depicted as colored red and/or wearing a red costume in both iconography and popular culture. Statistics have shown that red cars are more likely to be involved in accidents.

The color red is associated with lust, passion, love, and beauty as well. The association with love and beauty is possibly related to the use of red roses as a love symbol. Both the Greeks and the Hebrews considered red a symbol of love, as well as sacrifice. Psychological research has shown that men find women who are wearing red more attractive.

Mandarin Orange

sunshine animal print hand knitted silk wool scarf



Eastern and African tradition


In China, red (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: hóng) is the symbol of firesouth (both south in general and Southern China specifically). It carries a largely positive connotation, being associated with courage, loyalty, honor, success, fortune, fertility, happiness, passion, and summer. In Chinese cultural traditions, red is associated with weddings (where brides traditionally wear red dresses) and red paper is also frequently used to wrap gifts of money or other things. Special red packets (simplified Chinese: 红包; traditional Chinese: 紅包; pinyin: hóng bāo) in Mandarin or lai see in Cantonese are specifically used during the Chinese New Year to give monetary gifts. On the more negative side, obituaries are traditionally written in red ink, and to write someone's name in red signals either cutting them out of your life, or that they have died. Red is also associated with both the feminine and the masculine (yin and yang and the respectively), depending on the source.

In Japan, red is a traditional color for a heroic figure. In the Indian Sub-continent, red is the traditional color of bridal dresses, and is frequently represented in the media as a symbolic color for married women. The color is associated with purity, sexuality in marriage relationships through its connection to heat and fertility.  It is also the color of wealth, beauty, and the goddess Lakshmi.
In Central Africa, Ndembu warriors rub themselves with red during celebrations. Since their culture sees the color as a symbol of life and health, sick people are also painted with it. Like most Central African cultures, the Ndembu see red as ambivalent, better than black, but not as good as white. In other parts of Africa, however, red is a color of mourning, representing death.  Because of the connection red bears with death in many parts of Africa, the Red Cross has changed its colors to green and white in parts of the continent. 



 Do you see red?

 Click on the tabs at the top of our blog to visit our Catalog of Shops.  
You will find more red and many other beautiful colors!

November 30, 2010

DBK ARTS on Undiscovered Elegance Treasury on Etsy

Cashmere fingerless gloves bye DBK Design Arts

"My cashmere fingerless gloves were featured in an undiscovered elegance list on Etsy!  I was really excited!  The knit gauntlets are soft and luxurious and one of many great gift ideas."
-Debrah Block Krol

Undiscovered Elegance

dbk design arts, a proud TAFA member!
Visit her profile.

November 29, 2010

Oh, beautiful gifts! Cyber Monday treasures from The Textile and Fiber Art List!

Here's a new treasury by one of our team members, Berniolie. She managed to convey the richness and variety of our team member's art. Don't you want to dive in?

Oh, beautiful gifts!
Visit, leave a comment and click on items.
Send us to the front page!

November 27, 2010

Without Borders

Since the beginning of this year, I have been working on and off on creating artwork based on South Asian literature. Early in the year, I did this piece on Shakuntalam, Kalidasa's classical love story. 

This new piece, Without Borders, inspired by Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, is very post-modern. I was trying to respond to Melange team's November challenge "Home" and the idea came when I spent one whole Saturday morning hunting for documents to apply for Indian visa. I felt much like Ashima, a borderless nomad, straddling a 10,000 miles wide Asian Indian boat. 

The power of Lahiri's book lies in the fact that global themes of dislocation, loss, and the longing for roots are explored inside the particulars of one Bengali woman's immigrant experience. This point was most poignantly brought to me when my Brazilian born aerobic instructor asked me if I had read the book. Ashima, derived from the sanskrit word asima, means "without boundaries". 

The book may have well been about Miguela, Ivana, Habiba or even one Indira.

November 26, 2010

Hagar's Black Friday Treasury for the TAFA Team on Etsy

Hagar of Gilgulim did a beautiful treasury for our team!  She captured the dark, rich tones that Black Friday shopping might promise.  Click on the treasury to go over to Etsy and leave a comment.  Lots of comments and clicking on the items shown can send a treasury to the front page.  Wouldn't that be cool for our team?

Visit our Catalog of Shops by clicking on the tabs under our blog banner.  You will find our Team member shops in the various categories.  Absolutely gorgeous work!  Several of us are having specials on our Etsy shops over the holidays.  They were described in yesterday's post.  You don't really want to go outside today and face those crowds, do you?  Here is our advice:

Stay inside.
Shop online.
Support handmade.
 (especially the TAFA Team!!!)

November 25, 2010

The Textile and Fiber Art List on Etsy: TAFA Team Holiday Promotions

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  
It turns what we have into enough, and more.  
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  
~Melody Beattie

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.  Be thankful.  Have gratitude.  The nation embarks on its annual migration, crossing cities, fields and states, by plane or by car, to arrive.  We cook beautiful meals, set a fancy table, and let food, laughter, drink and warmth fill the cup of bounty.  Football is somehow tied into this. 

The next day all hell breaks loose.  People flood the malls: sale!  sale! sale!  No parking.  Tempers flare, grabbing happens.  Not very nice at all.  We eat and rest on Thanksgiving to prepare for the marathon of Black Friday.

Many of us shudder at this insanity.  We work hard at what we do, price fairly, but there is always this pressure to join in and follow the mass hysteria.  Etsy's forums are jammed with promotions.  It somehow seems contradictory.  Handmade for cheap?  At the same time, this economy has been tough on people and many who would like to support us just can't.  So, some of us do have promotions going on.  We offer these to you as a gift of thanks.  

Click on the name to learn more about our TAFA Team member.  
That will take you to their Member Profile on TAFA.

I will run a 20% sale on all of my items through Monday.
Constance Rose
I’m having a 25% off sale on all work posted in the Art For Sale Gallery on my website.  Here’s a link to the gallery.  Everything is 25% OFF the listed price.  Just email me to purchase and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice.  You can also click on the Inquire About This Work link at the bottom of each individual page, and request to purchase.  Happy Holidays to all!

I have free shipping from Israel.
Heather Lair Designs
I am doing a 10% off sale in my Etsy shop, HeatherLairDesigns. The code is happyholidaysale, and it is good till Dec 31.
In Vintagesiamese and Janetexcat, there is a 15% coupon code till Dec 22nd.
All of my prints have been marked down from $35.00 to $25.00 from now till Christmas.
Everything is 25% off through Black Friday.  Use Coupon Code 11232010.
I'm running a FREE SHIPPING TODAY promotion that will last until I take it off (every day is a new "today"). It will in fact run through Black Friday & Cyber Monday. I'm also doing a Sales Code coupon on ArtFire for the same FREE SHIPPING TODAY promotion.
I'm running a 10% discount that has already started and will end on Dec. 25.

Visit all of our TAFA Team members!
Click on the tabs under our banner to visit our Catalog of Shops.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010

Looking for Inspiration.

"I'm a trained noticer."

--Deputy Barney Fife

I don't usually turn to Barney Fife when I'm looking for wisdom of any kind, but the day I heard him say this I grabbed a pencil because it was the best answer I'd ever heard to the question I probably get asked most often about my work:  "How do you get your ideas?"

I always think that's a peculiar question, because to me the obvious reply would be "How do you NOT get them?"  Ideas are a solitary thing, and one person's ideas are not another's.  Not only that, they exist in a somewhat ethereal plane, and for me, at least, remain there even after I've done my best to translate them into a concrete representation of some kind.  

The result is never exactly like the teasingly perfect, ever-elusive IDEA that inspired it.

But if you keep a set of open eyes as part of the gateway to an open mind, you're bound to find ideas nearly everywhere you look.  People and their singular behaviors are a continual source of stories, and the wonders of the natural world quite literally never cease. 

But you have to pay attention.  

And if you neglect to put anything interesting into storage

it's almost impossible to get anything of value out when the time comes
to make an idea withdrawal.


Do you bother to see insignificant things?
Like a spider spinning concentric rings
Or the spots on a rock that's pepper black
Or the hair on the hump on a camel's back?

Do you take time to study the bigger things, too?
Like the windy sky, laced with clouds and blue
Or the lightning jagging from storm to ground
Or the snow that smothers without a sound?

Do you see darkness growing when evening begins
Or imagine the earth as it gradually spins? 
Do you ask many questions like, "Who makes a pig?"
Or, "Is a star tiny, or is a star big?"

If you don't do these things, then it's time that you should
And a good look around just might do you some good.
All the gifts of creation, enormous to small
Are yours to enjoy if you notice them all.



November 23, 2010

TAFA Featured on "Try Handmade"!

TAFA Team member Dye Diana Dye spread the good word about TAFA to her friend, Beverly Rustica, artist, author and handmade advocate.  This led to a beautiful spread featuring four TAFA Team members on Try Handmade, a beautiful online magazine dedicated to promoting handmade work.  

Artists featured are Sue Bleiweiss, Colin's Creatures, Betty Busby and Dye Diana Dye.  Click on their names to see their member profiles on TAFA.  All of them are members of our TAFA Team and can be found here, in our Catalog of Shops.  The tabs below our banner take you to the shops where our members have been divided into their focus categories.

Many thanks to both Diana and Beverly for spreading the word about TAFA and our artists.  Visit Try Handmade and leave a comment to show your appreciation and support!

About Beverly Rustica:

Beverly Rustica is a supporter of the handmade movement and an advocate for artisans of handmade goods. She is the General Publisher of ByHand Gallery, a site showcasing the work of exceptional handmade artisans, and IndieArtisans, an ever changing collection of the best of handmade work across the internet. In addition, she is the Founder of Real Food Artisans, a site focused on artisan food producers and their products.

Beverly has a particular interest in coastal art, and is the Market Manager of Boardwalk ArtisansBeachyRustica’s Cool Hardware for Beach & Cabin and purchased through her outposts on etsy, craftisart, or zibbet. For additional links and information see and Team Leader of the Boardwalk Artisans Team at In her spare time she creates Beach Glass Cabinet Knobs and other decorative home hardware which can be viewed at BeachyRustica’s Cool Hardware for Beach & Cabin and purchased through her outposts on etsy, craftisart, or zibbet. For additional links and information see

November 21, 2010

When you've seen one bird, you haven't seen them all.

"Use the talents you possess -- 
for the woods would be a very silent place 
if no birds sang except for the best." 
 -- Henry Van Dyke

Sometimes when I look at the ENORMOUS amount of art available to view and/or purchase online, I feel a bit overwhelmed.  There are so many extraordinary things, so many profound ideas already executed, so many songs sung (and so beautifully!), that I can't help but wonder why I bother to create my humble artistic offerings at all.  

That's when I find I need to step away from the computer and put my hands to work.  Ideas seem to flow best when I'm busily engaged making my own music, no matter how out of tune.  We all have a song, and a voice to sing it with, if we'll open up and let it escape.  And our song is distinctively our own, an intricate harmony completely unique and flavored with the notes of our own experience and insight.

So find yourself a branch on which to sit, look around for a moment and then sing the song of what you see -- a celebration of the beauties of the outside world, shared through the lens of your inside world.  

The chorus can only be made fuller and more glorious 
with the addition of every voice, no matter how small.


November 20, 2010

The Girl Effect: Educating Girls Can Change the World

By Catherine Salter Bayar 

There are no coincidences. Just as I was about to post on my blog, Tales from Turkey, about my primary motivation for creating our handcraft workshops, the Universe beat me to it.

Please read more here. Learning about the "girl effect" is no big deal. But it may just save humanity.

November 19, 2010

From the Window... A Treasury by Fabrique Fantastique

by Fabrique Fantastique

Isn't this just a beautiful treasury?  Click here to go leave a comment.  And, the more clicks items get on a treasury, the more likely it will end up on Etsy's front page.  So, click away and go visit our TAFA member shops.

Here is what our Curator was thinking when she put it together:  

The colors I see looking out...  Winter is almost upon us.
Get to know the diverse and beautiful items in the Textile and Fiber Arts (TAFA) group.

November 18, 2010

"Baby it's Hot Outside!" An Etsy Holiday in Warm Climates

"Our House" by DEsignedByDianeEvans

By Hagar Arnon Elbaz of GILGULIM

Oh yes! Tomorrow it is going to be 84F/29C. Don't misunderstand me; officially, it is winter here now as we are part of the northern part of the globe. So when I came back today from sailing in the Mediterranean that was as calm as a mirror and read Etsy's mail of HOLIDAY SPECTRUM, I got really frustrated.
The spectrum consists of snow white, peppermint, ice blue, silver and gold and wintergreen. What are you talking about? Snow? Ice? Winter?  Just remind me what that means!
I try to imagine the fire burning in the fireplace, trees naked from all leaves, scarves, frizzing air in your nostrils. Thank God that I have passed a winter in Paris so I can get the picture…
After three months of seeing only witches and orange color around Etsy for a holiday celebrated only in America, now everything turns white, ice blue and wintergreen (oh, I forgot the red…). And I do ask myself if all Americans turn into little red riding hoods during this season.
I am just joking!
But then I look at my shop and I hardly find anything that corresponds with the colors mentioned. Does it mean people will just ignore my shop during the holiday season? Should I rush into my studio and start looking for the right materials to change the collection? But I have been working so hard! Poor me…
Well dear, this is all about being a minority. Living in a country (Israel) that has no winter or Christmas holiday, I have got nothing else to do but to keep sailing under this beautiful sun on the perfect blue of the Mediterranean …
And don't tell me you have no such fears as mine even if you are not part of the minority!
A good advice given by Rachel is that those who do not follow the masses might stick out and actually get more attention for it. Think about it!
Good luck to you my TAFA friends!

The beautiful patchwork is by DEsignedBYDianeEvans who has an Etsy shop and who is also a TAFA member.

Mediterranean Delight 

November 17, 2010

Let the shopping begin!

Small Works in Wool by Susan M. Hinckley

Now that we've had the first big snowstorm in the upper Midwest here in the United States, I suppose it's time for our thoughts to begin turning toward the holiday season (which seems to have become a speeding train that runs nonstop from Halloween to New Year's).

 Santa Claus, for instance, arrived at the Mall of America this week, just in time to celebrate Veterans' Day and still carrying pockets full of left over trick-or-treat candy for the kiddies.

If there happens to be an artist on your list (and there's probably at least one . . . YOU) I have a suggestion for the perfect gift:

 Art & Fear, Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) 
of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland

I came across this book some time ago while browsing a used bookstore in Santa Fe and it was a truly life-changing read for me, and is a reference to which I continue to turn whenever I need a kick in the pants (the kind that makes you laugh and feel good, not the kind that makes it hard to sit down afterward).

The Introduction to the book says:

"This is a book about making art.  Ordinary art.  Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people -- essentially (statistically speaking) there aren't any people like that. But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time.  Making art is a common and intimately human activity, filled with all the perils (and rewards) that accompany any worthwhile effort.  The difficulties artmakers face are not remote and heroic, but universal and familiar.

"This book is about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do.  It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing Free Will above predestination, choice above chance.  It is about finding your own work."

Art & Fear is a quick and highly enjoyable read that you (er . . . ahem . . . the gift recipient) will turn to again and again.

Don't bother to get a highlighter, because when you highlight every page the point of highlighting is somehow lost.  DO, however, bother to get an extra copy for yourself, in case you're somehow overcome by the spirit of the season and decide to actually wrap up the copy you buy for a lucky friend or family member.

Come on . . . you know you've been good.  
Santa LOVES art.  
And Santa wants you to keep making it. 

Susan M. Hinckley
Small Works in Wool