Artisans are thriving again in post-quake Haiti

Posted on December 19, 2012 by

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Repeating Islands

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The sharp tang of varnish hangs in the air as a dozen women and a few men cut and scrape logs into bowls destined for U.S. department stores. In other Haitian workshops, vases sparkle with sequins of pink, green and blue, and dragonflies leap from picture frames cut from recycled steel drums, as the Associated Press reports.

Three years after a devastating earthquake, there’s still not much economic traction in this long impoverished Caribbean country, but one small niche has taken off: arts and crafts.

The artisan industry is enjoying a boost from advocacy groups that are helping organize workers and improve quality. Big retailers Macy’s and Anthropologie and three high-end designers are among those working with at least five artisan groups to export Haitian arts and crafts.

“We saw an increase in (our) purchases soon after the disaster,” said Michele Loeper, a spokeswoman for Ten Thousand Villages, one of…

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