Photo C/O @artesano_canada

Ever since Hina Glazer and Oren Harad moved to Canada from Mexico in 2010, they wanted to find a way to link the two countries. Inspired by how Canadians love to connect with other cultures and travel to Mexico, they wanted to show Canadians the beauty of Mexico beyond the tourist resorts.

They started Artesano Canada, an enamelware and folk art business that puts Mexico’s art in the spotlight.

The name comes from the Spanish word for artisan, but there is another hidden meaning. Glazer and Harad liked that arte means art and sano means healthy, suggesting that the colourful hand-painted skulls and black-and-white enamelware that they sell are good for their customers.

The couple began selling their goods after a 2016 trip to Oaxaca, their favourite region in Mexico. Along with their three kids, they met several talented artisans whose crafts has been passed down to them from their parents and grandparents.

“So the traditional art is art that's been made for obviously many years… [and] most of the artists are born into it… We went to a resort a few months ago and… we saw many of the skulls… painted like American sports teams. So that's the difference. I could cry right now when I tell you this. And there were artisans making them but they were not making their grandparents’ art,” Glazer explained.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvUL6JbhHA9/

For this reason, Artesano supports traditional Mexican art. The business currently works with two families of artisans in Mexico, with whom Glazer has a personal relationship with. They are a fair trade company as Glazer is strongly against taking advantage of others. She pays the artisans their desired price because she believes only they know what the products are worth.

Last November, Artesano participated in in Ontario Public Interest Research Group’s Fair Trade Fest at McMaster University Student Centre Atrium. They sell their products both online and in markets across the greater Hamilton area. Their online store ships worldwide and they have a shop at St. Jacob’s Market in Waterloo.

Glazer and Harad intended to run the business on the side, but their business grew and Glazer now operates Artesano full-time. Prior, Glazer was a self-employed translator, but has never owned a business. While the process has been hard for her and her family, it has also been very rewarding and led to several new skills.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu7fanDh2ih/

“[I]t's hard to try to put your name out there and your brand… [E]ven if people respond, it's not an easy journey but you learn so much about yourself. It's amazing… [Y]ou used to do one part of the business… and that's it. Nowadays we start these small businesses. We're not social media experts and we're not sales experts… but we do all that… So it's a challenge,” Glazer said.

Glazer credits her fellow vendors and entrepreneurs in Hamilton for making the process easier. The warm entrepreneur community provides tips and a support system for her and her family as they juggle life and work.

The city has also been very supportive of Glazer and Harad. Last November their van, filled with $5000 of product, was stolen in downtown Hamilton. While the goods were not recovered, they still hear kind words from Hamiltonians to this day. They have also found support in their neighbourhood, with kind neighbours who will look after their children if needed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bub-zGMhOiI/?utm_source=ig_embed

The city’s sense of community, thriving art scene and rapid growth make it a wonderful fit for Artesano. As the business grows, Glazer aims to continuing travelling to Mexico and meeting other artists. She wants Artesano’s products to connect people around the world to the rich culture of Mexico.

“I really like the ceramic skulls because they represent so much about Mexico… Day of the Dead is the most important celebration of the year and skulls are such an important part of the Mexican culture… I would love to see us help people learn more about Day of the Dead which we try to do in our social media. And you know Mexican traditions in general, just… extend this knowledge to everyone who's interested,” Glazer explained.

The business is also a way for Glazer to keep her children connected to Mexico, even as they grow up in Canada. She considers Artesano a family business and would love to see it passed down to her children. Like the artisans they collaborate with, Artesano might be around for generations to come.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Kashyap Patel

The safety and wellbeing of the student population should be the top priority of any respectable university. On Jan. 29, McMaster University chose to prioritize profits over the safety of their students.

Despite heavy snowfall and icy conditions, McMaster remained open because “crews [had] spent the night clearing snow and cleaning walkways.” The university simply advised their students to take care when travelling to campus.  

Crews have spent the night clearing snow and cleaning walkways. The University will open for classes this morning and all events and activities will take place as scheduled. Please take care travelling to campus.

— McMaster University (@McMasterU) January 29, 2019

McMaster’s Storm Emergency policy states that the university will be closed “when severe weather poses a danger to students, staff and faculty while on campus or if the weather would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes.”

For students living on-campus, the inclement weather did not pose as serious of a concern. However, for students and staff who live off-campus and commute, this decision put their safety at risk as roads and pathways leading to the campus were not adequately cleared.

In the opinion of many students on social media, the cancellation of classes should have been deemed a necessity. Students used the closure of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board schools, which are located in the same area as McMaster, to support their views.

Due to the inclement weather, all schools and administrative buildings are closed and transportation is cancelled today, Jan 29. All exams scheduled for today will be written tomorrow, Jan 30.

Enjoy the snow day! ❄️ pic.twitter.com/WpmHYJnFAD

— HWDSB (@HWDSB) January 29, 2019

Many students could not make it to campus due to Go bus cancellations and delays. The university clearly overlooked these legitimate concerns despite the potential negative impacts on students’ academic standings.

This incident begs the question: does McMaster value profits over the safety of its students? Given this instance, I believe the answer is yes. This decision was careless and irresponsible considering that most students attending McMaster either commute or live off-campus. These severe weather conditions also made it impossible for students using accessibility devices to safely reach campus.

Furthermore, many students that braved the conditions and commuted to campus found out that their instructors had cancelled their classes. The lack of coordination between the university and its faculty led to students unnecessarily putting their safety at risk.

Students also pointed out that several walkways on-campus were not cleared even though the university claimed otherwise. McMaster should be more truthful about the statements they disseminate to the public. Students use this information to make decisions about their commute and how they navigate the campus in a safe manner.

https://twitter.com/obeng_lily/status/1090300759802109952

It is difficult to pinpoint what sources of information the university used to inform their decision. The weather forecast predicted a snow storm at approximately 4 p.m. the day prior. The local facilities in Hamilton such as the YMCA and public libraries were also closing for the day. Buses and trains were also delayed or canceled in several locations throughout the southern Ontario area.

McMaster University should take a multi-faceted approach when making weather-related closure decisions. Transportation, safety and the effectiveness of the clearing crew needs to be evaluated before making a decision that can impact the safety of thousands.

Student safety should be of paramount importance to educational institutions. There seems to be a disconnect between McMaster and its students regarding the implementation of the inclement weather policy.

McMaster should re-evaluate the actions it took on Jan. 29 and learn from this incident. Students need to know that their safety is valued and plays a key role in the decision-making processes of their university.

 

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