In order to highlight our incredible new pieces, we had to enlist someone with way more photographic talent than ourselves, so we shot for the moon and called up Sarah Shreves. She braved an all-day shoot on an unseasonably cool California day to capture stunning images of our beautiful models enjoying our jewelry. Here are some favorites:
We are pumped to introduce to you our first ever summer intern class! These wonderful human beings have devoted their summer to helping us take Ember Arts to the next level. You can follow their journey at their brand new blog: http://emberinterns.tumblr.com
Laura Berry (bio by Joanna Oboza)
Laura Berry is a vegetable garden growing superstar in Haiti. Originally from Dallas, Texas, in her spare time she finds herself in Haiti, working to provide a sustainable food source for the impoverished people of Haiti by helping them grow vegetable gardens that are maintained through the compost of human solid and liquid waste. When not using her vegetable superpowers, she tries to live a normal life by going to Texas A&M working on a degree in Geography, Sociology, and Business. Trying to act like a normal college student as often as her non-normal but exciting life allows, she plays with her dog Bentley, watches a lot of hockey, crafts and sews, and enjoys spending time outdoors. If you happen to run into her somewhere in Dallas or Haiti, be sure to speak into her left ear because her right ear, unfortunately, will not pick up what you say. Hopefully one day when her life takes a more normal toll, she will be able to live on a sailboat (where she can read “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, a book that continues to change her life each time she reads it), help people tap into their creativity, and camp out at a Nascar Race. Although no super hero is ever able to live a normal life, Laura would never want to live a life other than hers because it allows her to continuously work on developing countries and projects. She has currently taken on a role as an intern at a company called Ember Arts where she hopes to learn about social entrepreneurship and its ability to truly empower women. As a child dreaming of being a weather girl, little did she know that she were to become a superhero with vegetable growing and waste composting super powers!
Joanna Oboza (bio by Sander Harth)
A unique Polish upbringing has catapulted Joanna Oboza into becoming the first Ember Intern who not only speaks a first language that is not English, but who can name over 50 different types of sausages. Despite being held back in Kindergarden for not knowing enough English, Joanna has overcome her language barrier and fear of eating the ends of bananas to establish herself as a fine young woman with a big heart and great aspirations. Besides being a psychology major at UCSD, she is involved with multiple well-known organizations, a few of which include Invisible Children and the Big Sister mentoring program. She has recently brought her passion for reading books and her dream to one day build a library in her own house to a more contemporary endeavor, tutoring refugees from Burma and Somalia in financial literacy. Joanna considers herself very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern at Ember this summer because she has a great passion for helping others in need, and by working at Ember she is going to experience how a business can both be profitable and play a major role in changing people’s lives for the better. While earthquakes are Joanna’s greatest fear, and the Ember office is located North Park (which is devastatingly close to the San Andreas Fault line), she has volunteered to risk her life in order to participate in what is most definitely going to be a life changing experience, not only for her, but for the 27 beautiful women in Uganda who work so hard to produce the Ember Arts jewelry we all adore.
Sander Harth (bio by Laura Berry)
Sander the Surfer Superhero is not only big in size but business savy. He had a natural knack for business and dreams of owning his own company. Sander’s business aspirations are not only aimed to help himself, but also to help others who are less fortunate. He has worked closely with an agricultural company, Guayaki, based out of Argentina and helped promote their projects at his school, University of San Diego. After taking a trip to Argentina and living with the indigenous Ache Guayaki Indians, he knew socially conscious business was a direction to aim. This superhero has linguistic power and is trilingual: English, Norwegian, and Spanish. These powers come in handy when you travel like sander. He’s studied in Spain and Mexico and has traveled all over the world ranging from New Zealand, Africa, Panama, Paraguay, Europe, and his favorite Costa Rica. Originally from Encinitas, CA, Sander can not imagine living anywhere but the San Diego area. He’s finishing his last year at USD where he is studying Finance, Accounting, and Spanish. In his free time you can find him surfing, hiking, playing volleyball, cooking, going to concerts, exploring, kayaking, or watching sports. In the future, Sander hopes to have started a family and own his own business.
Today we at Acholi Beads are launching a new vision, and we are rebranding our entire company to match it. We call it Ember Arts.
Ember is the new face of our company, the new name by which we call ourselves. It is founded on something we learned from the Ugandan women we partner with.
Every human being is born bright with a natural flame of creativity and exuberance, the flame that inspires children in their ceaseless joyful exploration of the world. But as the years pass, some fires dim. Heartbreaks, failures and injustices douse our dreams and quench our wonder.
For our Ugandan partners it was worse. Their lives were battered by civil war, they lost loved ones to violence and hunger, and they struggled through years of hard labor trying to feed their families. After too long without the resources to pursue their goals and dreams, people stop hoping.
This is the great tragedy of poverty, that eventually even the flame of hope dies.
But that was not the end of their story. Through our partnership together they found new opportunity, and soon they began pursuing goals and dreams that had been unimaginable only months before – sending kids to university, building houses, creating new businesses.
All the flames of creativity and exuberance burst back to life.
Hope, we learned, is never gone. Even when it looks like those flames are snuffed out, there is an ember, a smoldering little seed of hope that can never be extinguished.
This is the unquenchable ember of the human spirit. We exist to kindle it into flame.
Today is the beginning of a new vision of elegance and impact, a synthesis of market and morals that will change attitudes in America and lives in Uganda, and eventually around the world. We are developing the most marketable products ever to come out of impoverished communities so that soon those communities will overthrow poverty.
We are so very grateful to all who support us. We certainly can not do it without you.
Let’s make flames.
Just happened across this invention over on Engadget (my personal favorite gadget blog). It’s a solar powered lightbulb for use in the developing world. Hang it outside during the day to charge, bring it inside at night to enjoy some daylight leftovers. We’ve been to some Ugandan villages that would likely love this. Apparently they’ll run about $6 when purchased in bulk – not bad for two years of light