Scenes from our "Office" Party

It's holiday time and a time to gather ‘round the staff of Sal del Mar and celebrate our fifth year.  We drove to the small village of Sabinito Sur, where the women who embroider our muslin bags live. It is a beautiful drive with mountains as a backdrop in a region where the desert meets the tropics.  It's only a 20 mile drive from Álamos, but takes one hour to get there by car.

Arriving at the village, we were greeted by a Christmas display in front of the children's school... a tree with colorful ornaments and a red door wrapped like a package.  It really shows how the simple things are almost always the most beautiful.

Our gathering took place at Meche's home, who has been with Sal del Mar from the beginning.  Rosario, Aide, Natalia of course were there too with their babies and young children. 

We stuffed ourselves with decorated Chrismas cookies that Phillip and I made, drank orange soda and talked about our good fortune to have made 2014 the best year yet for Sal del Mar.... and they received bonuses that reflected our good year.

Before leaving, I tried, in my awful Spanish (I promised to be better next year), to let them know what artists they are and how they should be very proud of their work. The salt is the best gourmet sea salt in the world, but it is they, the embroiderers, who make a simple bag a piece of art to treasure. 

We headed home to Álamos at dusk, but ready to return soon to work on 2015.

Our New Arrival

I think I now know what fashion designers go through before they show a new line each season. Well, it might not be quite as intense, but I certainly experienced the anticipation and excitement while creating our latest bag design which we named the "Oyster Shell."

I love the design. I was inspired when I Googled “Sea of Cortez Pearl” and found that the Sea of Cortez is famous for its pearls. In fact, the Cortez Pearl was discovered by Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortez on one of his first expeditions in 1533 (click here if you want to learn more).

I give our embroiderers in the village of Sabinito most of the credit because their intricate craftsmanship gave the design something that couldn't be drawn on paper...life and beauty.

The Oyster Shell bag is available through our website, select stores and markets throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Embroidery Ambassador Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo pic
Frida Kahlo pic

Frida Kahlo is an artist whose work I admire, but I am also fascinated by her unique sense of style. She wore fashion, not of the time, but glorious costumes from the Tehuana people that enhanced her exotic good looks. So, when I heard that there was an exhibition featuring Frida Kahlo, Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, at the Tucson Museum of Art I attended with gusto. Muray’s collection documents Frida over a 10 year period and it was noted that Muray photographed her more frequently than any other person.The reason I am posting the Frida Kahlo exhibition in my blog is that the photographs capture the beauty of the Tehuana dresses which were sewn with elaborate embroidery. It occurs to me that the traditional costumes such as the ones that Frida wore are disappearing but there is still the tradition of the women in villages throughout Mexico who embroider like the women of Sabinitowho embroider our Sal del Mar bags. Their skill and artistry is truly a work of art.

embroidery detail on orig design
embroidery detail on orig design

It is rewarding to see the tradition of embroidery continue. .. and wait until you see the new Sal del Mar bag design we are adding to the collection  -- just completed by our embroiderers and soon to be released in retail stores and on our website!

Give a Mermaid this Holiday Season

For the last 10 months, I have been working on producing a holiday bag design for Sal del Mar. It has been exciting from start to finish. It started with an off-handed comment from a retail store owner in Tucson who loves our original palm tree and sea creature design, but said, "you should have a mermaid embroidered on your bags..."

With the idea incubating in my head, I asked Paula Hamilton to sketch a design featuring a whimsical mermaid surrounded by waves holding a seashell and we added a jaunty Santa's hat for the holidays.

To make a long story short, I gave the sketches to our group of embroiderers in Sabinito, Sonora, Mexico and they created their own version of "a mermaid in a Santa hat" and voila, we had our “Holiday Mermaid.” The embroiderers are the most important part of our team -- their artistic freedom allows each embroiderer to create a unique bag that we then fill with Sal del Mar gourmet sea salt. The result is a masterpiece of naive beauty.

Well, I received the first delivery of our Holiday Mermaids, and they are ready just in time for early holiday shoppers. The unfortunate/fortunate news is that the she is available in a limited number -- one has to remember that the Sal del Mar bags are all hand-crafted and not mass produced.

Hopefully you will like the Holiday Mermaid design as much as I do. You can buy them on our website or at specialty boutiques around the country and Mexico. Feliz Fiesta!