Cuentos Holiday Trunk Show and Open House

Come see beautiful new Fair Trade copper art from Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan and Puech Ikots alebrijes from Oaxaca!

Come by and toast the season! Food, drink and good company will be available as well as art for sale.

Unique art and jewelry make wonderful holiday gifts, and you will be directly supporting artisans with your purchase.

1118 W. Loyola Ave., #3
December 11

Loyola Red Line stop
155, 147, 151 bus stops

More information contact Cuentos: 773 412 9838

20th Annual Buy Nothing Day and Holiday Fair Trade

In its twentieth year of Black Friday anti-activity, Buy Nothing Day is teaming up with #Occupywallstreeet to create #Occupyxmas.  The idea of Buy Nothing Day is to opt out of the Black Friday shopping frenzy that benefits large corporations and to instead refrain from all consumer activities, to literally not buy anything for 24 hours.

However, the ability of some folks to live their lives and support their families depends on other people shopping.  For example, some fair trade artisans rely on foreign consumers to buy their hand made items in order to put food on the table and send their children to school.  If you’d like to purchase fair trade gifts for Christmas, Hanukah, and any other gift giving occasion this year, come to the Waldorf Holiday Fair, on December 3rd.

December 3, 2011
9 am – 5 pm
The Chicago Waldorf School
1300 West Loyola Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626

Chicago Waldorf Holiday Fair
Vendor Marketplace – unique holiday gifts and treasures
More information Contact Cuentos: 773 412 9838

The Saturday after Thanksgiving will also see alternative holiday shopping activities around the country: Small Business Saturday, a chance to support a local business.  A friend posted the following on Facebook in Colombia:

“Propongámonos comprar todos nuestros regalos de Navidad a través de emprendedores: La amiga que hace postres, la vecina que vende por catálogo, el artesano que hace aros, la amiga que vende por internet, el amigo que tiene su taller en casa. Hágamos que nuestro dinero llegue a personas comunes y no a grandes multinacionales y así, más personas tendrán una Feliz Navidad.

“We’re proposing to buy our own gifts this Christmas instead of buying from businesses: the friend that makes posters, the neighbor that sells by catalog, the artisan who makes rings, the friend that sells on the internet, the friend who has a workshop in his house.  Let’s have our money get to people we know and not to big multinational companies, and this way more people will have a Merry Christmas.”

It’s something to think about.

Fair Trade Lives on the Day of the Dead!

Come celebrate the continued growth of the fair trade movement at this year’s annual Globalfest, Friday, October 28th, 6:00pm-9:30pm at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 18th St, Chicago.  You will have the opportunity to view the National Museum of Mexican Art museum’s Dia de Muertos(Day of the Dead) exhibit and support Chicago Fair Trade.

Come sip on fair trade wine, cocktails, and the delicious Vida y Muerte ale.  I was lucky enough to try this brew, made special for Day of the Dead, at an underground supper club in Pilsen, and it is my absolute fall favorite.  It’s also made here in Chicago by 5 Rabbits brewery.

In addition to imbibing fair trade and local beverages, you will be able to hear Edison Mamallacta’s story.  Mr. Mamallacta, the Marketing Director for the Kallari Association of Kichwa cacao growers, will be there to tell it himself, all the way from Ecuador.  The Kallari Association of Kichwa cacao growers are a cooperative that not only grows cacao beans but also produces chocolate bars from those very same beans.  Then open your ears to stories from ten more  Chicago fair trade businesses who source products in Latin America.

For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival

July 16 and 17th, 12-7PM
Dawes Park, 1700 Sheridan Road, Evanston.
Free admission!!

Come check out a very extensive sampling of artisanal items from around the world.  The City of Evanston has provided a list of all the ethnicities that will be represented at the festival.

You can visit the Cuentos Foundation booth at the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival and see beautiful new fair trade items from the amazing copper smithing community of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan, Mexico.

Join our community and spread the good word! Art that gives voice !
Public transportation: Dawes Park is located just a few blocks west of the Davis Street Metra and CTA stations. Dawes Park is located between Davis and Church Streets on the lakefront.

Sheridan Road construction update

There is a very good chance that construction on Sheridan Road will be completed before Saturday, July 16, 2011. Those driving to the festival from the north are able to enter the NU parking lot (which is three blocks north of Dawes Parkl) with no problem. If you are driving from the south, please check this page closer to the festival dates for an update on potential detours.

If you are driving to the festival from the south:

Take Sheridan Road to Church Street. To park, continue past the festival grounds to the NU parking lot 3 blocks north of the festival at the bend in the road (look for the signs). Continue driving straight into the parking lot (do not take the curve to the left). A free shuttle bus will travel between the garage and the festival grounds.

If you are driving to the festival from the north:

Take Sheridan Road and stay in the left lane as you travel past Northwestern University, because Sheridan jogs to the left (if you go straight you will be on Chicago Avenue). In about two blocks, you will see the NU parking garage entrance on your left, just before the road jogs to the right. A free shuttle bus will travel between the garage and the festival grounds.

Canto de los Martillos: Exhibit May 6 – June 6

Canto de los Martillos: Santa Clara del Cobre

Song of the Hammers: Santa Clara del Cobre

 Centro Cultural Colegio Jesuita , Morelia, Mexico

The complex relationship between “artisans” and “artists” reflects the rich dialogue between the labor of the body and the labor of the mind. The artist/artisans of this exhibition “Canto de los Martillos” unify these often polarized fields through their ingenuity, creativity, sincerity, and deliberate technical excellence. The copper material is manipulated for expressive means, telling stories and singing songs, new and old, that resonate, echoing their community’s history, their personal histories, their desires, passions, dreams, and daily life full of traditions, fiestas, family, and devotion. These artists/artisans confront the global world with tranquility, dignity, and with open souls, with the desire to understand, learn, and participate.

 This exhibition – “Canto de los Martillos is part of “Cuentos en Cobre: Santa Clara del Cobre – Arte Comunal e Individual”, a series of educational, intercultural and artistic programs organized by Cuentos Foundation. The exhibition is organized by Cuentos Foundation’s artistic director Michele Feder-Nadoff, artist, Fulbright scholar; Vice-presidents, Santa Clara artisan, Sergio Velazquez and Napoleón Peréz Pamatz, and the Santa Clara women artisan’s collective members.

The second part of this exhibit are prints, autobiographical texts, cuentos and engraved and silver-plated plates created by the Santa Clara Women’s collective as part of the Taller de Mujeres Artisticas – a cultural and artistic exchange workshop organized by Michele Feder-Nadoff with Dra. Ioulia Akhmadeeva of Cátedra de Gráfica of the Escuela Popular de Bellas Artes de la Universidad Michoacána San Nicolás de Hidalgo. Santa Clara women artisans, teachers and students of the Bellas Artes exchanged designs and the techniques silver-plating and engraving. The prints were created at Colegio Ex Jesuita, thanks to Director Francisco Oñate and the studio director Maestro Derli Romero Cerna, Alter.Nativa Grafica, and Professor Ioulia Akhmadeeva. Finally, the third part is a homage in the form of a small installation – by Feder-Nadoff including a sample of her forged vessels created during her Fulbright apprenticeship to Maestro Jesus Perez Ornelas during 2010-1, to express her affection and appreciation to her mentor and to all her maestros in his studio, and to the Santa Clara community for their beautiful art, traditions, and hospitality. Viva Santa Clara del Cobre!

Gael García Bernal and water privatization in Bolivia


What more could one ask for in a film?

Gael García Bernal featured in a Spanish-made drama about the battles of water privatization in Bolivia – not much is left to desire for two hours of your attention.

After watching the trailer for También la lluvia (Even the Rain), I was experiencing Andean and Iberian nostalgia galore, dreamily remembering bus rides through the Ecuadorian mountains and hearing Spanish accents in Madrid.  After further browsing of the movie’s website,  I found a Milan Kundera quote in the synopsis of the film. I wondered how this movie could appeal to me any bit more.  The screenplay was written by Paul Laverty, the film was directed by Iciar Bollain, and my expectations were thouroughly exceeded upon viewing at the Landmark theater. I highly recommend catching this film wherever you can.


Colectivo la Colmena(Beehive Collective) will be at Centro Autónomo, 3640 W. Lawrence Ave, on Friday, March 18th at 6:30pm, to present Free Trade and stories of global resistance to corporate colonialism. If you have not yet been awed by a narrative tour of the Beehive Collective’s work, you should definitely make it up to Albany Park next Friday to check them out. Centro Autónomo also urges you to come participate!

Last fall I had the pleasure of once again seeing the Beehive Collective at their presentation of  “The True Cost of Coal” at the Little Village Community Center. I saw there the original mural-sized poster illustrate the Appalachian mountains’ flora and fauna, the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining and the struggles against it, and a smaller version of the poster depicting all that now happily hangs in my apartment.

And after the picture lecture is the after party! Join Radios Populares, a Chicago-based collective that collaborates with communities struggling for social justice to build low-power FM community radio stations, for their Report Back from Mulukuku, Nicaragua at 1430 W. Leland 7:30 – 11:30.  Enjoy food and beverages (for a donation), video from their recent visit, interview with Gretel from Maria Luisa Ortiz, and information and dates on their Spring Making Waves Workshops. In the words of Radios Populares:

Radios Populares recently took a follow-up visit to Radio Mulukuku which is managed by the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative and Women’s Health Center. This cooperative was founded by a group of women working together to rebuild their communities after they were destroyed by Hurricane Joan in 1988. In 1991, the cooperative established the Women’s Health Center, which now provides medical care for a population of 30,000 inhabitants, in Mulukukú and the surrounding areas. Other projects of the cooperative include literacy classes, preschools, reforestation, and programs in nutrition, prevention of family violence, and midwifery.
The cooperative, in collaboration with Radios Populares in 2004, began a radio station to disseminate their work around women’s health and wellness to the community of Mulukuku, Nicaragua.
Their radio station is being used primarily for education, and will play a central role in the development of their community. Currently, they are on the air 7 days a week and have boosted their power to 300 watts. They reach a radius of up to 20-30 miles.