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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Yak Project From Built For Man

photo credit Marshall Johnson

Recently, I met with Francisco, Creative Director of Built For Man.  When we met, he passionately described his Yak project with me, and I wanted to share it with all our Pink Energy readers.  I am reposting his blog about his Yak Ornaments project here. 
Basically, the Yak Project is a program made by Built For Man who will be selling these specially created Yak Christmas Ornaments to benefit the Loom Project and www.erc.org.np.  The ornaments are beautifully made and a few will definitely end up on my tree. And, they make great gifts. Check out Francisco’s article about the Yak project, and decide if they will join you and your family during the Holiday’s. You can buy a couple of 2, a family of 4, or a herd of 6.  To buy them just head to Built For Man’s website by clicking here

An artist always has the desire to create, by doing so many astonishing things can arise from this; surprises can be obtained with astonishing results.
Inspired by the Loom Project and our commitment to social responsibility, this year we are working alongside www.erc.org.np in creating Yak Christmas ornaments exclusively by Built for Man.
Thanks to the help of Allan Aistrope founder of Virtue’s Children Nepal , we were directed to Early Rehabilitation Center which has been working in Nepal since the 90’s.
Early Rehabilitation Center Nepal is a nonprofit foundation providing skill training and marketing leadership to impoverished deaf and blind women, men, and children. Built for Man encourages the right to enterprise and self-sustainability. The artisans that make our Christmas ornaments are gifted with talent and determination to create clever and attractive items, no matter the social, physical, or economic obstacles.
Six ladies where selected to work on the Yak Project, 3 are blind and 3 are deaf, all have the possibility to be sustainable given the opportunity. We couldn’t have done this without the help of Vidya Vaidya, she is an expert in blind education, a teacher trainer and founder of E.R.C.
From the beginning of this project Vidya knew that we had the probability of success and put a lot of attention on selecting the right candidates to work with us to get the project completed on time and as we requested.
Once we had allocated the source of workers we needed to get them a prototype of the Yak ornament, Tesha Yates a talented artisan from Clem Helm sat with me for a one-on-one product development meeting.  For this project to be successful we needed to make sure that the artisan in Nepal had all the right tools, plus they had the know-how for creating  molded felt.
Molded felt is an ancient technique that has been part of humanity for centuries, is a technique that is fairly easy, all you have to do is get a ball of wool and with a needle you  poke the wool until the desired shape takes form.  Luckily for us Nepal is known for this and they have mastered the art of felted wool.
It took Tasha a couple of days to develop the first 2 samples, once approved they were sent off to Nepal.
When designers design they all have their unique ways, I normally first design with a muse in mind.  For this project it was the Shepard’s Christmas tree.
Secondly I developed the color palette and finally I formalized the shape.  For this project I had to develop the shape first then think about the color.
Color is universal and it seems that every certain color awakes an emotion in all of us. At first I was going to color the Yaks true to nature but deep down I knew I had to go crazy on the color.  I had to consult with an analytical mind so I called my friend Dr. Karol Marshall.  We sat for a latte to discuss this topic of color , I explained to Karol my dilemma, and she said the most amazing thing:
“Christmas trees and birthday cakes have only one purpose, to bring joy into our lives.”
With this said I knew that the Yaks had to be colorful.
The first herd of Yaks arrived this past September; we have created 300 so far and our goal is to create 500 before the holidays. It’s going to be a fast pace to the holidays, I know deep in my heart with the help of our community we can create our herd of 500, we are 200 heads of Yaks away from this accomplishment.
Once this project of Yak Christmas ornaments blossoms my hope for next year is to take this social project to Africa to empower an African community to design with us.  My aim is to create Hippos in Africa as 2013 Christmas Ornaments while the Yak project is employed elsewhere in Nepal.
We make beautiful clothing. We are building a good society.  We need to build a strong audience that will understand and support our purpose in this world of fashion. I am aware we are a men’s fashion brand featuring a men’s fashion style blog. An artist has the right to dream, my dream to think outside the box and to empower people while doing so; one Yak at a time, one step at a time.
Francisco

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