I found the marriage of all of my interests in the late 1980's, just as concepts of fair trade and of using the arts as economic development initiatives began to emerge as serious models of change worldwide. For twenty years, I explored this through various retail incarnations in Chicago. I moved to Paducah, Kentucky in 2005 and have found myself increasingly in a mentoring role, although I still keep my fingers stuck in many pies.
Rayela is my name in Pashto, one of the languages spoken in Afghanistan. I liked it and made it my business name.
Rayela Art on the web:
Website: It needs a makeover, but there is a lot to see there. The site is split in half, artist and entrepreneur.
Etsy: I manage three shops there and items can be shipped together. See Etsy Shops for a view of the products.
Rayela My stuff. Things I have made and cultural textiles from around the world.
Afghan Tribal Arts: Beads, vintage tribal jewelry, and textiles from Afghanistan. The shop belongs to my friend, Abdul.
Oshiwa: Wonderful hand carved textile stamps from a fair trade workshop in Namibia.
TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List An online organization of working artists and textile businesses that I launched in January of 2010. It was my idea, but it only exists because of the members, wonderfully talented people who excel at what they do. It's truly amazing and does consume a lot of my time these days. See the TAFA tab for more info or just head over there.
Social Media: I'm on facebook, linkedin, youtube, flickr and who knows where else. There are widgets in the sidebar for most of them. If you love me you can click on them. (Chocolates work really well, too.)
Biels in Brazil: My parents carted me off to the emerging giant of a country in 1962, when I was still a baby. We left in 1980. Of course, it made a permanent impression on me. The blog documents our time there. If you like travelogues, I happen to be in this one. Cool photos.
The Sewing Project: Still an idea in my head, this is a project I would like to see happen here in Paducah. Stay tuned!
I spend my days in front of a computer screen. I hate it because my body is rebelling. I'm turning into jelly. I love it because it allows me to live in a small town which doesn't have jobs for people like me, because I can work at home and go walk the dogs when I feel like it, and because it connects me to the world. I have lots of cyber friends whom I would love to meet in real life someday. It can happen.
I try to remember that all of these electronic devices, all of these places on the web, are just the tools that we can use to shape our lives and our relationships. I am pleased to connect with you here and hope that the bits that I contribute will effect change in the most positive of ways.