Getting ready for my graduation – outfit sorted, shoes sorted and the finishing touch the landmine design necklace, fastened firmly around my neck. It’s not just something that finishes off my outfit, which it does do very well, but it has a beautiful and sentimental story behind it.
Landmine design was first known to me when I was volunteering in Poi-Pet, it fascinated me. It took preventative action in supplying jobs for women who could be vulnerable to being trafficked and allowing them to work from home, whilst caring for their children WHILST providing beautiful jewelry for consumers far and wide.
It was one of the first supply chains I had known where you could know the person who crafted the item. It left an impression and three years later that impression and a module I covered – material culture, lead me to focus my dissertation on this project. I had the honor to go to Cambodia and spend time with the women, they talked of their faith and their life change and most conversations had me welling up with awe and pure emotion. I wrote 12,000 words about my experience with the women so to say I reflected on my time there would be an understatement!
Following back the commodity chain is something that I have studied this year and in most cases I have been confronted with the frustrations of not being able to get very far, but instead to be hit more times than not by story after story of devastation and scandal – of poor working conditions, political rife and exploitation. Our world is so very connected – every morning everything you do, is connected to hundreds maybe even thousands of people around the world. The tea that you brew has been grown, say in Sri Lanka it has benefitted some and burdened some it will have been involved in the politics and hardships – people have nurtured it and picked it to pay for their family – their food, their home. It will have been shipped and gone through the hands of different people with different stories to package it and check it.. the story goes on. But, the different things we interact with on a daily purpose we have no power or maybe no intention it seems to know who they affected.
But we do have a responsibility as consumers. Landmine Design is a remarkable company in that you know with full security who made your item and what it has meant to them. This was a poignant moment for me to know that the necklace that has been the work of many minds had been made by one of the ladies I had spoken to, I had met her family and her children. It is a wonderful rare thing and I cherish the jewelry so much more as I know the story behind it.