Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Handmade Collective in Costa Rica

by Jennifer T. of MaJenta Designs

My husband and I just went to Costa Rica on an adventurous eco-tourism honeymoon! Inspired by City by the Sea Ceramics' blog entry about her and her husband's anniversary tradition , I was hoping to find something memorable during our honeymoon trip as well.

During our visit to Monteverde, an area known for its Cloud Forest Reserve, I read that a great place to pick up souvenirs was at CASEM which is filled with products all made by local artisans. CASEM stands for "Committee of Aristans of Santa Elena and Monteverde." It was started in 1982 by a group of 8 local women - and now it has grown to 94 artisans, 3 of which are men. The goal of CASEM is "to enhance the economic and social well-being of local women artists" and their community.

Monteverde & Santa Elena Reserves are famous as a wildlife reserve with 100s of species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 2,500 species of plants and tens of thousands of insect species! So you can imagine why so much of their artwork are of various flora and fauna of the region.

During our visit we were so lucky to catch a glimpse of the elusive Resplendent Quitzal! Unfortunately, my photo does not do this gorgeous bird justice!

But because of that rare sighting - we definitely wanted a fun memento of this bird in what we pick out for a souvenir as well!

These magnets are all made out of leather and hand-painted. Definitely was excited to get the Quetzal one to spice up our new bare refrigerator!

I also love to collect Christmas ornaments - ideally one a year symbolizing a special place or memory from that year. So you can imagine how excited I was to find this adorable felted Quetzal ornament! It will be sure to stand out in our tree this year!

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