This all happened back in 2018 when my better half Josh and I decided to take a trip to my home land Colombia. I had an idea that was growing in my mind for quite a while and this vacation was the perfect opportunity to get Josh on board.
We had the joy of traveling the highlands of Boyacá and Cudinamarca region. During our visit we woke up every morning to the smell of the most exquisite coffee you could ever imagine, we immersed ourselves fully into the culture of the country, the richness of its people and their folklore, we delighted ourselves with the exuberant landscapes and breathtaking views of the country side.
We finished our trip in Bogota and were lucky enough to attend to the largest artisanal fair in South America. While walking the vast complex of buildings, we felt drawn to the Native artists and as if a sign of the universe we also had the opportunity to speak to this individuals despite how incredibly busy the location was.
The Indigenous we met that day were extremely kind and knowledgeable, while conversing about their lives and products they described with a bit of sadness how commercializing their goods has become extremely difficult this days.
They spoke to us about their limited access to technology and how this is a challenging market is for them. Aside from the fact that 40% of Colombia’s population do not have access to the internet and a larger portion do not speak a second language. They shared with us that the new generations do not take pride in learning the crafts from the elders and some of their techniques are slowly disappearing, as a result many of them have resorted to undersell their goods to a few large corporations that later on rebrands and resells their products for a hefty amount of change.
Once we got back to the States reality sat in quickly, we returned to the daily grind of our corporate jobs and kept on yearning about the fantastic time we had abroad, so we made the decision to change our lives completely, we decided to combine both of our skills and passions to create a life project that encompasses all the things we love the most: Culture, Travel, Visual Arts, History & Nature.
So “Hand by Craft” was born, the whole idea is to transition our careers by being able to trade ethically with the Indigenous and traditional artisan communities of Colombia, while crediting them for their art, through travel being able to document and preserve a record of their techniques, knowledge and belief systems. We are a bridge between cultures and spread this awareness to the people of the North, allowing ourselves to enjoy photography & travel fully get immersed in the ways of living of the hands behind the craft.
In the grand scheme of things as we leverage funds, we will apply our practical Permacultural & Biodynamic knowledge to restore a 15 acre land in the NY area turning it into an edible forest that generates affordable organic produce and serves as a destination to host visitors & artisans while providing a learning space.
We are sincerely committed to carrying out our life mission and leaving a positive imprint for the future generations.
From our Heart to yours...
Natalia & Josh