Saturday, February 14, 2009

Checking Labels

At my library job, I had seen a DVD coming and going several times. It gets so busy that I didn't notice the full title. Mardi Gras (Made in China). Looking at the cover more closely I discovered a strand of beads. So I had to check it out and watch it.
It is a very interesting DVD especially for jewelry designers. It is a documentary that follows the making of the beads to the use of the beads at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The hard work and long hours that the factory workers put in to make the beads are quite a contrast to the end result here in America. Here the beads are tossed around if women expose their breasts or the beads lay in the streets where people vomit. Finally a street sweeper comes along and the beads are trashed. In the factory the lives of the young girls are horrible. Long hours, low pay, factory housing. In the end the factory workers watch part of the documentary and they laugh at the way Americans act.
I felt ashamed.
I have always been very mindful of where items are made. But seeing this DVD has made me even more diligent about checking the origin of where an item comes from. It can be very hard since many jewelry components are imported from China and India.

Soon to be Woodland Wedding Necklace

I always try to buy glass beads from the Czech Republic. Tonight I was looking at beads at Joann's Fabric store and came across some Czech leaf beads right beside cheaper leaf beads made in China.

It is even more expensive to buy hand crafted beads made in America but I am certain it is the right thing to do. I have made a promise to myself to use more beads from independent glass artists. It will mean charging more for my jewelry but it is something I have to do.
Mambo glass bead from

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