Hello 2012! It’s been a busy few months here at Paper Turtle and I thought I would take a moment to catch you up on the excitement. First, in case you’re wondering about the picture above… this is one of my favorite images from my recent trip to Haiti (click to enlarge). It’s a photo I took of a painting that was hanging in the Oloffson Hotel (presumably The Last Supper, artist name indecipherable). I think it’s a perfect example of the blending of African & Vodou traditions, with Christianity. I love the spirits in the trees, the girl feeding a mango to the birds, and the cats under the table. Quite a bit more celebratory than traditional Last Supper imagery.
I’m happy to report that we enjoyed great sales in our Etsy store, as well as locally, throughout December. As a result, I was able to return a total of $1,000 for the year to Aly to share with the artisans. Woo hoo! This year, I plan to profit-share every three months, sales permitting. I have also added a Donation page to our web site for those who wish to make direct donations to the artisans. I am currently trying to identify specific needs, such as the fan that was paid for by a direct donation last year.
Speaking of sales, we have expanded our wholesale revenue stream (I’m feeling very professional these days) with two new retail outlets: Country Furnishings of Taos, and Mermaid Alley (The Bahamas). Thank you Mary and Pam for your partnership!
I am currently working on new sculpture designs as well as a more predictable freight shipping schedule (hopefully large shipments, twice per year). It’s really difficult to discuss designs via email, but slowly, Aly and I work out the details. I hope to return to Haiti at least once this year to oversee shipping and meet with Barthold and Aly about production.
In other exciting news, a fabulous designer-artist is creating a Paper Turtle logo and branding materials as we speak. I’ll keep her name a secret until I can share her beautiful creations (I’ve seen the drafts… they are SO BEAUTIFUL!).
Finally, I just finished Island Beneath the Sea, by Isabella Allende, a historical novel that takes place in Haiti just prior to the slave revolt and continues in Louisiana, where many people fled during and after the revolt. It was fantastic — an eloquent, moving, and eye-opening account of the fascinating and heartbreaking history of Haiti during those years (1790s-1830s). Its US publication coincided with the earthquake in 2010.