Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crafting for Charity…....by Dawn of JewelryArtByDawn

I've found I like creating things to benefit good causes. I like doing it more now that I've stopped thinking of it as a possible way to promote my business. It just feels good and right.

The thought that it's possible to create something that will benefit others and not benefit ourselves in any way is very empowering. When we see horrific things happening on the news, we feel powerless and overwhelmed. By creating something with our own hands to help, we're better able to acknowledge those feelings and respond in a positive way.

Over the years, I've donated my jewelry to various fund raising events and have been happy to do so. I was deeply moved and affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill that decimated the entire area during the spring and summer of 2010. The images of oil soaked birds and other suffering wildlife moved me to tears many times.

Donating cash wasn't enough - I had to do something more personal and from the heart. After much though, I painted this pendant of a pelican. I chose the pelican because as the story unfolded, they seemed to become an unofficial symbol of what was happening to the wildlife population.

One side of the pendant depicts a beautiful, healthy bird in a clean environment while the other side shows a pelican soaked in oil in what has now become a dirty, toxic habitat.

The pendant raised nearly US $500.00 which was donated to the Audubon Society and specifically earmarked to go towards the efforts to rescue and rehabilitate birds injured and made ill by the oil spill. It was a really good feeling to accomplish that and I hope to do more of this type of thing in the future. It was so healing for me personally to paint it and fulfilling to find a way use my craft to help.

Thinking about crafting for charity led me to seek out other artisans who use their art or craft to aid charitable organizations.

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Debra at Sleepy Cat Designs, pointed me to Jenn of Freyas Fire. For the past few years, Jenn has been making blankets every year for the animal shelters in her area.

It's very simple; the blankets don't have to be big, just big enough to fit within a shelter cage or a pet carrier. It's a great way to use up small balls of yarn and try out new crochet (or knit) stitches, as long as the yarn is machine washable. She usually buys acrylic yarn or the 100% cotton yarn because both can handle a multitude of washings in hot water. She does not use wool because it's not machine washable and some cats have wool pica, where they like to chew on or swallow wool.

Most of the blankets she makes go to the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, but she has also taken blankets to the Harford County Humane Society in MD, and a few went to the CCSPCA in Vineland, NJ. She has been told by some of the volunteers that the cats seem to be less stressed when they're given a handmade blanket to sleep on.

Jenn also makes these sweet catnip toys that can be found in her ArtFire studio, FreyasFire.

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Lynn of Metal Artistry, clears out the inventory in her shop at the end of each year to make way for new designs. She then donates several of these pieces to a women's shelter.

Many of these women arrive at the shelter with nothing but the clothes on their backs as they flee abusive relationships. While the shelter meets their basic needs as they try to get their lives back together, Lynn feels that something pretty will brighten their days and put a smile on their faces.

While jewelry isn't a necessity, to know that a stranger cared enough to give beautiful hand crafted jewelry so they'd have something special to call their own, must mean a lot to these women. Feeling pretty is a big self-esteem and confidence booster, which is what many of these women are lacking due to years of being abused emotionally and physically. Confidence and self-esteem are both very much needed when starting a new and hopefully happy life.

Here are a couple of examples of Lynn's work from her Metal Artistry ArtFire studio. Who wouldn't feel beautiful and self confident while wearing these pretties?

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While this blog post is about crafting for charity, there are many other ways to give back. Hats off to all those who make a difference, whether it's making a donation of cash or goods, serving a meal to the less fortunate, volunteering at an animal shelter or holding a penny drive and so much more.

A heartfelt "thank you" to all the volunteers and generous people out there who support charities and good causes - you make the world a better place!

Submitted by Dawn of JewelryArtByDawn where this artisan features many types of handmade jewelry designs to please all tastes and budgets. Many of Dawn’s special designs focus on nature and animals, showing her love and respect for the world around us, especially our wildlife and pets. Be sure to check out her studio and contact her if you have any questions.


Debra at Sleepy Cat Designs said...

So many of the CFA Guild members are "crafting for animals" as well and for other charities. It is always good to read about those generous and self-sacrificing activities among our members, as well as others who are not member artisans and sellers. Thanks, Dawn, for doing such a good job with this article and letting us know some of the ways others are showing they care, especially one of our own guild members! Please do consider joining the guild; new members are always welcome and the more caring people who participate, the better!

Scotti Cohn said...

Thanks for writing this article, Dawn! The pelican pendant is wonderful -- I really admire your talent! I also enjoy donating jewelry to animal charity fundraisers for two reasons: (1) it helps animals and (2) I have the satisfaction of knowing someone is wearing the jewelry I made.

Scotti Cohn said...

I should have added -- my shop is Jewelry by Scotti, and I'm a member of CFA.

Kanweienea Kreations said...

Wonderful article and beautiful items!! :)

Pam said...

What a wonderful article. I so much liked reading ways to help people and animals and am inspired with the caring and generosity reflected in this blog post. Thank you for sharing.