Michael: No way could I pass by the plastic sheet on the sidewalk with a blanket on top laden with rectangular fabric covered objects. My wife knowing my attraction also stopped and asked me, “Do you want one?”
Graciela: Something I have never seen in the USA is people placing a covering on the sidewalk then putting their items on it to sell. In Bogotá you can find these type of vendors in many areas. Some are selling manufactured goods. Some sell items they made. For many this is their only source of income.
We had just finished a morning viewing of the Museo Nacional and eating lunch in their restaurant. The young lady selling her items had set up her display in front of the museum.
Michael: I did not see the vendor at first. The artistically made blank books caught my eye. Putting 1,000 to 2,000 words a day with pen to paper I enjoy good tools. Previously I wrote about my fondness for a certain type of pen. But what I write on is also important.
In the States it seems that only commercially made blank books are available. In Colombia artisans produce small quantities of unique pieces to write in. I’ve seen covers of wood, tooled leather and woven banana leaves. These books have been a joy to collect and use.
Graciela: My husband had in his hand one of the books checking it out thoroughly. When asked, the camera shy 20-something lady told me that she made them.
Michael: The whole book is well constructed. She had exactly what I wanted, something with pages of recycled paper and an elastic band to hold the book closed. Plus of course there is the most important part of the fabric covered hard cover. I gladly forked over an amount equivalent to about one-quarter the price of books found at stores. My only regret now is that I did not purchase more at the time. But fortunately for me my wife got the woman’s card.
Graciela: When you visit Colombia not only go to the craft center like the one we wrote about earlier but admire what some of the sidewalk vendors sell. We try to support these sellers. The money helps them much more than corporations.
Michael: And while at the Museo Nacional don’t forget to watch out for and purchase one of the artistically made books from the young lady.