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Market emphasizes fair trade, craftsmanship

Dekalb Daily Chronicle, IL

Laura Kettner places a great deal of importance of individualism and environmental respect.

“The world has so much commercialism that you need to assert yourself however you can,” the Sycamore resident said Saturday while crocheting a purse out of plastic grocery bags.

She was one of 14 vendors selling her handmade crafts – skirts made of neckties, as well as jewelry and scarves – at The Uncommon Market hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb.

The colorful room was filled with tables featuring an array of items including ornaments, knit scarves, jewelry, soaps and trinkets. Some items were made locally, while others came from all over the world.

“This does two things,” said Dave Becker, one of six members of the church’s Fair Trade Market Committee. “It raises awareness of different choices people make, and it also invites people into the congregation and lets them know we’re here.”

Linda Slabon, minister of the congregation, said she believes that the uniqueness of handmade goods should be cherished.

“There’s a huge sense of satisfaction that a person has when they create something,” she said. “While society has benefited from mechanization and has become wealthy, … we’ve also sometimes found that we are drowning in our cheap stuff.”

Many shoppers who were browsing tables Saturday said they were there to find quality items that fairly compensated the people who worked hard to make them. Among such individuals was DeKalb resident Maylan Dunn-Kenney, who was looking for some holiday gifts.

“You can go to the stores and find a million things alike,” she said. “Here, everything is handmade. Human hands have made a mark on it, and there’s beauty in that.”

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