Melinda Patrick Cowen Ph.D. has been producing art, jewelry, and costume designs for over twenty years. Her sense of color, shape, and subtle layering give even the most common item distinction. She has won awards in design and art competitions along with the opportunity to show her creations in gallery settings. Dr. Cowen currently focuses on creating nature inspired jewelry with special emphasis on quality materials and individual preferences.
Maria Cobian is a Spanish teacher at SAIL High School and a dedicated volunteer for a cooperative of indigenous women from the Amazon of Ecuador in the Pastaza region. 100% of the profits from the sale of the arts and crafts created by “Cooperativa de mujeres amazonicas en defense de la ‘Allpamama’” represent an effort to establish an eco-sustainable income for their makers. In addition, some of the funds raised are used to educate their people regarding the imminent threat of development and destruction of their way of life. Alternatives to development include reforestation and restoration of endangered plants to the region. Support of the cooperative’s indigenous art makes their work and way of life possible.
Arte Mexico LLC is a unique local business that ties two cultures together with a mutual love and respect
for the natural world. Mexican crafts express the indigenous people’s reverence and awe of Nature; most of the materials come from the environment around them, and the motifs often depict local flora and fauna or aspects of the cosmos. Mexican pottery is often shaped into animal forms, or it is brightly painted with local favorites like sunflowers and Canna lilies. Silver jewelry depicts everything from native animals and flowers to eclipses. Wood is carved into whimsical animal shapes before it is painted. The instruments and traditional toys are made of bamboo or gourds; the dresses and shawls are embroidered with flowers and birds. Metal is formed into creatures familiar to all coastal residents: turtles, frogs, fish, birds, lizards & butterflies. Local teachers Kathy Hallowell (Spanish) and Diane Perez (Art) began Arte Mexico in 1998 hoping to bridge the two worlds that had so much in common. Regional festival-goers have responded with delight.