Indigenous women artists celebrated at Pleasanton event
by Diane Weddington

ANYONE interested in the advancement of women's indigenous crafts won't want to miss a lively and colorful program Wednesday in Pleasanton.
Co-authors Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle, who wrote "In Her Hands: Craftswomen Changing the World," present a documentary and open discussion on what they learned in working with women on four continents, including Guatemalan weavers, the Ndebele beaders of South Africa, the flower painters of Poland and Indonesian batik artists.

This is a splendid, beautifully photographed text with stories of how women worldwide survive through crafts.
Alice Walker wrote the forward. First published in hardback, it was released as a $35 trade paperback in 2004 by powerHouse Books and will be on sale at Wednesday's event.

Gianturco, the photographer, was a board member of the Association for Women's Rights in Development and with the Crafts Center, an agency working with women in 79 countries.

Tuttle, an investment banker, worked with Gianturco in the first woman-owned advertising agency in the United States.

Inspired by the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the pair spent five years on the project. "Often driven by the harsh realities of poverty, little education and lack of even basic health care, these female artisans are motivated by the desire to provide for their children: to dress them properly, feed them well, and most of all, to educate them," writes Jeannie Wolf of powerHouse Books. "The need for social contact and a sense of community brings craftswomen together into groups which in turn gives rise to microenterprises in developing countries."

Among artists highlighted in the book: the Mother's Club of Peru's shantytowns; the doll-makers of Soganli, Turkey, who are the sole wage earners; the Zulu basket weavers of Durban, Africa; and the Hill Tribe needleworkers of Northern Thailand.

The program begins at 6 p.m at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 11950 Dublin Canyon Road, Pleasanton.
Tickets are $35 and include the dinner, program and booksigning; book purchase is separate. For reservations call (510) 547-0391.