Glad tidings in a global market

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Indy Lifestyle Online
CHONETTE TAYLOR is hardly a typical retailer. Though she has been importing ceramics for 10 years and earns a living from her shop, Quetzal, in Chippenham, Wiltshire, she never haggles with her suppliers.

'I am Mexican, and I buy from craftsmen I know personally,' says Mrs Taylor, who epitomises the philosophy of the Global Partnership '93 Christmas market, which opens on Friday at Olympia, west London. 'As a matter of conscience, I pay what they ask for their ceramics.'

The partnership's Christmas market, part of a huge annual gathering of voluntary organisations concerned with the Third World, the environment, human rights and international conflict, celebrates the richness of ethnic products. Exhibitors are vetted to ensure that they pay the producers reasonably - and the market can therefore provide an opportunity to buy beautiful Christmas presents with a good conscience.

For example, the One Village stand will offer examples of brightly embroidered, traditional door pelmets from Gujarat in western India (pounds 12.50), brightly coloured dhurries from northern India (pounds 25.99 for 3 x 5ft) and assorted baskets from the Philippines, Bangladesh and Zambia ( pounds 1- pounds 29). Roy Scott of One Village explains that the organisation 'works closely with about 15 countries. Nothing comes from private companies: our concern is for the well-being of the producer. Everything is purchased from community enterprises and co-operatives.'

The Africa Book Centre will display a selection of Christmas goodies as well as its selection of African books. You will find African postcards and Christmas cards (from 40p), diaries (including the Southern African women artists' diary at pounds 6.99), and large, brightly coloured T-shirts (pounds 12.99) displaying shanty flags.

The Pachacuti stand is laden with items from the remotest parts of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, which Carry Somers found for her Devon-based company. There are: Bolivian clothes made from aguaya, a finely woven wool in subtle shades of brown (from pounds 4 for wallets, pounds 22 for waistcoats); musical instruments, including the ever popular rainsticks (pounds 20); unusual ceramic jewellery, coloured with dyes made from minerals and cactus plants (from pounds 5); recycled jewellery from Ecuador, made from old forks and spoons (pounds 12 bracelet, pounds 14 brooch); and gorgeous wild Bolivian-wool hats, coloured with natural dyes (from pounds 20).

Mrs Taylor's range of Mexican gifts will include hand-blown glass (tumblers from pounds 3, jugs about pounds 15), ceramic cookware (from pounds 2.50-pounds 16) and ceramic jugs, vases, mugs and little animals (from 50p).

Global Partnership '93 at the National Hall, Olympia, west London, 3-5 December. Entrance, pounds 4 (pounds 2 concession). Global Partnership is supported by the Independent.

(Photograph omitted)

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