Releasing the Dragon: Worshippers take part in Mengulur Naga (Unfurling the Dragon), a ritual culminating in the release of a dragon effigy into the Mahakam River, during the Erau International Folklore and Art Festival 2013, in front of the Tenggarong Museum, Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan. (JP/Nurni Sulaiman)
I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room.
I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen.
Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.