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Artisan Voices: ALS CaribFair

This article is a part of our Artisan Voices Series featuring stories from the Nest Artisan Guild members. The stories are told in the business’ own voices and imagery. This month’s story comes from Honduras-based ALS CaribFair who have used jewelry-making as a means for finding hope and beauty throughout the pandemic.

Pandemic Chronicles or Is Beauty Still on People’s Minds?
Written by Anaite Seibt

For more than 20 years we have focused on sustainable tourism, support of local communities, and technical assistance to umbrella organizations, until recently with the events of 2020 and 2021 which felt like the universe signaling a need to slow down and seek out change. With this, we decided to shift our focus to begin creating handmade jewelry. One of the main drivers for making this decision was that instead of sharing culture and showing beauty to our visitors and tourists, we wanted to be a part of creating it with our hands as an expression of all the beauty we have been privileged to witness across Honduras. Despite the rocky uphill journey ahead of us, we had a clear goal in mind and we felt confident about reaching it.

The Q Clock

As we began making jewelry during quarantine clear themes of love, compassion, and hope emerged within our designs. From this, the “Q Clock” (or “Quarantine Clock”) was born. Each hour on the “Q Clock” is represented by one of our signature styles and sentiment of optimism. The “Q Clock” is a reminder to us to calm our minds by getting busy with our hands: a testament to the craft’s therapeutic, expressive, and unifying qualities.

Throughout this journey, there have been many moments when we questioned whether the world would be interested in handmade jewelry when so many people are facing grave difficulties. We asked ourselves: is beauty still on people’s minds? What we have found is that people are craving escapes without having to physically be somewhere else and that learning about the amazing colors and varieties of natural opals from Honduras can offer people this escape.

The “Q Clock” has inspired us to keep creating throughout the pandemic and despite everything we have found moments to celebrate: We honored one of our national health sector heroes with a specially made piece of jewelry and donated another to frontline workers in Spain and Portugal. After two international online trade fairs and numerous knowledge-building webinars, we enrolled in a regional trade platform, engaged with artisans in Central America, connected with Nest, and were selected to carry the brand “Marca Pais” from our national authorities, all while caring for our homes and family members who make it all worthwhile!

Looking to the Future

This experience has reminded us that there will always be challenges and successes on the horizon. So, we’ll continue to take deep breaths, enjoy the scenery and remind ourselves that beauty in its countless expressions, including handmade jewelry, brings us inspiration, hope, and dreams. It makes us visible to others and underscores who we are. As long as that is so, our uphill journey has a purpose. And that appeases our minds and makes our hands dance.

Learn more about ALS CaribFair from Jutiapa, Honduras via:
IG @als_jewels