Yesterday, Tom and the kids gave me three pieces of art from Sao Paulo artisans for Mother’s Day. Tom had purchased the pieces at a bazaar held at the office by the Community Liaison Office.

The first piece is a tray with a base, that can be used separately or like a TV tray. I’d looked at some in the States before we came here, but hadn’t seen any I wanted to buy. This one is perfect. It’s by a German-Brazilian artist, who used her art as decoration on the table.

The second piece is a lamp from the project Arte e Luz da Rua (Art and Light of the Street). The project began as an effort to provide dignity and generate income for homeless people who frequent the parish “House of Prayer” community center and church which serves the homeless community in Sao Paulo.

At the workshop-school, homeless clients spend the day between educational activities and the creation of beautiful lamps using discarded sugar cane fiber which they gather from the many street venders of sugar cane juice. The sugar cane fiber is then made into a pulp, mixed with non-toxic dyes, and spread on a wire mesh to form a variety of sizes and shapes. Sales of the lamps provide these artisans with their principal source of income and an opportunity to reintegrate into society.

I love the lamp that Tom selected. It’ll provide more atmosphere than light, I suspect, but the glow on the wall is lovely.

The final gift (yes, I know, they were too generous!) was a beautiful pendant, made from silver, with filigree tree branches studded with emerald stones like leaves, and with a tiny red bird perched on a branch. It’s perfect for me!

I look forward to going to more bazaars and street fairs (of which there are many) to find local art work. I know it’s cliché, but I hope to have pieces of art from wherever we live in the next decade.

And no, kids, we don’t plan to be those crazy grandparents who show up wearing colorful local clothing, with bangles on my arms and in Dad’s beard, and bearing gifts of wooden flutes that look like giraffes or other creatures!