.......some not- so- trivial trinkets.........................

Not only does Katie Collins share the same name as me, but she is also a woman with her head on her shoulders, who cares about a cause that she supports. This week's Shops Who Give is Trinkets N Charms a sweet store featuring jewelry that gives back. But, I'm not going to spoil it for you. Katie has all the right words in our interview posted below:

1. Tell us a little about you and your work. Why did you choose the charities you have chosen for your work?
I started making jewelery in the summer bet
ween my BA and MA degrees, I was "let go" from my summer job after 2 weeks (along with half the team) and was browsing Ebay when I saw the Bead section, and pretty much got hooked from there.

I chosen the Motor Neurone Disease Ass
ociation because my Grandad had MND. Watching him die from this horrible, progressive, completely terminal disease was the worst thing that I have ever had to do. While he was alive, and after his death, I did a lot of research in to MND and ended up getting very angry, because it no one really cares about it. It's not a common disease like cancer, it only affects an average of 3 out of 100,000 people. So no one cares if a cure it found, no one cares that being slowly paralysed by your own body is a pretty horrific way to die. The only people that DO care, are those that witness it.

The MNDA plugs all the gaps where society fails. They help sort out carers to visit so the primary carer at home can get out the house for a few hours. They help pay for specialist equipment, such as wheelchairs and stairlifts. And they fund the research that could one day lead to a cure. They were a huge support to my Grandparents, and they will continue to be a support to many other families. It is only fair that I help them with this after they did do much.

2. How do y
ou donate to them?
Two ways, the first is through people buying my jewelry. I donate a percentage from various items to the charity (collect it all together and then send it in one go, I don't think sending seven cheques for a few quid each would be a good idea XD).

Secondly, here in the UK a lot of people collect used postage stamps. I found a seller willing to buy large collections off me, so that I can donate the money from that
to the charity. You need a lot of stamps to get anything more than pennies, but luckily for me my family and my friends have been incredibly supportive, I get an envelope of stamps from someone at least once a week at the moment.

3. How much have you donated to them so far?
So far I have collected a grand total of...£3! And that includes some stamp money. However my aim is to hit £200 by October 2011. And then I'm going to aim for anoth
er £300 in a shorter amount of time, and so on and so forth. I suspect I'm going to be spending my life raising money for them, but it'll be worth it. I'm not particularly athletic, so most of what I raise will be funded by crafting, but sooner or later I'll strap on my running shoes and do a half marathon or something :D 4. How do you feel that your art influences the people that receive it?

I never really thought about it to be honest. I create all my jewelery to be a gift, either a gift to oneself or a gift for someone you care about. I like knowing that someone out there is wearing something that I created, they would probably be shocked if they discovered that the person that made the "heart crystal earrings" did so while listing to Metallica and drinking tea XD

5. Do you have any artwork that represents the charity you donate to?
Not at the moment, but this year is the 30th Anniversary of the foundation of the MNDA and pearl is the gem for 30, so I will be making and li
sting some pearl items very soon :)

6. How can we learn more about you and the charity you help out? The MND Association has a wonderfully informative website.There is also an American version, called the ALS Association (ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, it's basically MND with a posher name):
Both charities offer the same services, but in di
fferent countries. I'm supporting the MNDA because I am British, but the ALSA is just as important.

7. How do you think we could improve or beginning charity "art=food?"
Firstly, you need a symbol. All the well-known charities have a symbol that is instantly recognizable. It's pretty much the first rule of marketing.

Secondly...well, you won't like this one, find someone other than Oxfam. They have a really poor reputation here in the UK, a lot of people tend to feel that the money they donate won't actually go to help people that are starving, it'll go in the pockets of the people that run the charity instead. There are plenty of smaller charities that do the exact same thing, but get more money out to the people that you guys want to help.

But I do think it's a great idea. There are also a lot of supermarkets that throw out food which hasn't gone off, it's good to eat but it's gone past it's "sell by" date. If you've got a local homeless shelter you could see if your local supermarket will donate some of this food to them. Start small and get the feel of it :D When your lungs have developed, then you can shout at the world to start the change!

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to get my beliefs and ideas across.
- Katie/Trinkets n Charms xxxxxx

Katie....does that mean that readers should send you stamps if we have them? I just can't wait for the pearl collection! (they are my favorite stone, and on my wedding ring!). Thank-you also for your smart & informed advice for Oxfam and Art = Food. I'm seriously sorry to hear about your Grandad and I am so glad you can be an inspiration to us all. Go check out her new shop and see what it's all about. I just love the "N" in shop names, I used to have one called "Golf 'N Things" when I was 8 years old and used to sell golfballs by the golfcourse for .25! ;) Now...a logo-creating I go!

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