Mark your calendar! July 6th! Boise Bicycle Project - Artisans For Hope Social Ride

You can gather at 6:00PM at the Boise Bicycle Project, 1027 S. Lusk St., Boise, 83706, and ride in the group to Artisans For Hope, 723 N. 15th St., Boise 83702. Or, come visit us at Artisans For Hope anytime that evening between 6:00 and 9:00PM.

7-6-2018 AFH-BBP event poster.jpg

Dragon Power!!!

Khalil (Arabic for greatly loved), Artisans For Hope's bicycle-powered parade dragon was constructed by LeeAnn Garton, Dave Webster, Linda Dixon and others. He was part of the Tour De Fat bicycle parade and was totally bicycle powered. A group gathered before the parade and put Khalil together. His tail, head, and finally the tubing which would make him "roar". 

A group of supporters rode along side of Khalil and we were all so proud of our entry in the parade. 

Dragons figure in tales from most every culture on earth; we are united in our fascination. Khalil was the star! 

He roared, he was bicycle powered and he was admired! 

Here is LeAnne getting the dragon ready to go. 

Here is LeAnne getting the dragon ready to go. 

Many many scallops were cut and attached to Khalil. 

Many many scallops were cut and attached to Khalil. 

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Artisans for Hope Bicycle-Powered Dragon...coming soon in Tour de Fat

Work in  progress.

Our plan...

Coming soon to a parade near you! Khalil (Arabic for greatly loved), Artisans For Hope's bicycle-powered parade dragon, is being constructed by LeeAnn Garton, Dave Webster, Linda Dixon and others. Dragons figure in tales from most every culture on earth; we are united in our fascination. We'll share the progress as Khalil comes together.

Khalil and its rider and puppeteers (for the wings and head) will lead a troop of riders, refugees and community supporters. The Tour de Fat happens August 12 this year. The parade time has not yet been set.



Chief Joseph Elementary School Story Quilt Project

Project Goals

The 4 second grade classes would use stories and art to develop an understanding of home, the commonality of what means home across cultures, and the diverse experiences of people across cultures in developing a sense of home. 

Pretty awesome goals...The project did not go quite as planned but still was a worthy effort and had some amazing results and the goals were achieved.

Brooke was the lead teacher.  AFH followed her lead. She  wanted the visits to begin in mid March and the quilts done in April. We negotiated to start sooner however given scheduling concerns the visits were limited. 

Paule M (a artisan refugee)  made an initial visit and immediately engaged the students. Her conversation of having to leave the Congo, leave friends, come to America at 14, speaking no English, wondering about Boise caught their attention. Paule is an excellent and convincing speaker. The curiosity was intense and one could "feel" the students begin to think - to ponder the reality that the sense of meaning of home does not vary much across the cultural road - however the experience of it does. 

Gwen Smith innocently volunteered to help - given some changing priorities in my life, Gwen became the lead. Unquestionably her skill, talent, and experience made this a miracle in real time. Through March and April Gwen worked with the children/teachers to create the story blocks. Joan Cloonan attended many of the classes to photograph the project. The four teachers (4 classes) developed complementary work in the classroom. This varied by classroom. The lead teacher, Brooke Knutson set a great standard with multi cultural books on quilting and home - classroom  discussions - and a deep interest in the subject. 

And the story blocks were complete.  Gwen Smith did the quilting and you can view a very interesting video of her completing the quilt on her quilting sewing machine.


Click on this link to view the video.



Thanks Idaho Gives!!

Artisans makes $1,470 from Idaho Gives. #72 in amount given to medium organizations


You can check out the link on our home page and see the folks who donated to Artisans for Hope. We can surely use this money. We are very careful with any money donated and put it to good use. We have to buy a few supplies, pay our operating costs and salaries .

Most of our fabric and supplies are donated. The teachers are all volunteers and we have volunteers who do a host of other jobs. Check out our "get involved" pages  about volunteering. We couldn't survive with out our volunteers and donations. 

Welcome our new interim director....Joan Sheehan

We are so lucky that Joan has stepped in as our interim director. She brings with her a lifetime of experience in the nonprofit world and a fun, compassionate, and vibrant personality. She will serve until the end of next summer. Here is a brief synopsis of "Joan."

"Joan has been a clinician and supervisor within Idaho's behavioral health care system in the profit and nonprofit sectors since 1987.  Her career culminated in a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the field of Substance Abuse in Idaho. She has rich and varied experiences with textile arts, and enjoys sharing both her more technical leadership skills and love of fiber with others. Joan was an avid supporter of fair trade before their was an "FTO" acronym.  A mother of two retired Lt. Colonels and their supportive spouses, her families reside in Montana and Colorado.  There are now 3, soon to be 4 married grandchildren, one great grandchild with two on the way!!! In her 'free' time, she loves to work with fiber, garden,visit her 94 year old Mom, and spend time with friends". 

Welcome Joan!!



A Tribute to Elaine Garris

Last Wednesday volunteers, students, artisans and friends gathered to honor Elaine Garris who has been the Executive Director of Artisans for Hope for the past two years. Under Elaine's leadership, much has been accomplished. 

 Elaine committed two years of service as the Executive Director and that time is up. Now it is time for her to take some time for herself. She will be back in September as a volunteer. 



If you will ask anyone who has worked with Elaine, they will say it is her calm friendly presence which will be missed the most and has been a tremendous asset to the organization. 

The following is her last report to the executive committee. It gives us a glance at what she has accomplished the past two years.


"Artisans For Hope truly is a volunteer-run organization. We have thirty-one instructors. A recent marketing graduate designs event flyers and other marketing materials, runs our Etsy shop, and designed our new brochure.   Others get out and speak to groups about AFH. Our volunteer bookkeeper takes care of reports, filing income and sales taxes, and other related tasks. Sewing machine maintenance, monthly work to calculate and record artisans’ sales amounts, classroom project planning and teaching, and visiting agencies to inform them about our work; all of these tasks and so many more are done by volunteers.

When I began working with refugees I took a class from Steven Rainey, director of Boise’s English Language Center. He emphasized the importance of recognizing that refugees, in order to put their trauma behind them, must find meaning and purpose in their new lives. They are here because they possess the intelligence and tenacity to persevere through endless bureaucratic procedures. Once in the U.S., they must hone their ability to adapt and accept entering society from the bottom. It’s a long, slow slog for most.

  AFH offers a friendly, welcoming place to learn new skills or practice existing ones, to think about color and design, make new friends, and have the opportunity to make and sell products. Those sales bring in a little money but each sale also reassures the artisans that someone in America is drawn enough to their creation to pay them for it. Sales validate the value of their efforts. The AFH experience as a whole provides a respite from the hard work of assimilating.

 AFH volunteers also seek meaning and purpose when they walk in our door. For the most part, we attract smart, skilled people who enjoy the company of others. Our volunteers tend to stay with us for many years. To continue that pattern we must never slide into the mistake of micro-managing people. Of course, when someone offers to perform a needed job we must give them clear guidelines, but then we need to trust them to do it with creativity and intelligence. Endless nitpicking takes all the fun and energy out of anything and we’ll end up with no workers. There are plenty of jobs to go around. There is no need to hoard either tasks or credit.

Our traveling Story Quilt Project, This Is My Home Now, was exhibited in Twin Falls, Lewiston, Moscow, Pullman, WA, and Ketchum. Volunteers and Story Quilt makers made presentations at each stop. It left Soda Springs a couple of weeks ago and headed to Caldwell. The National Oregon/California Trail Center at Montpelier, ID is on the schedule for early summer.

In the last year, two sewing graduates started in-home sewing businesses with high quality sewing machines that had been donated to Artisans For Hope. Bahija Karim, one of the first students, is developing her business. She also brings in new students.

As we mature, more local businesses contact us to contract our sewing services. An example is a company that sells bridal accessories. One of the artisans receives cut fabric, sews it together on a piece rate basis, and returns the finished goods, netting about $30 an hour.

 Our program manager Veronique Giwe Tongbi’s incredible sewing skills and her beautifully made products set a high standard for quality which the student artisans do their best to achieve. Her use of English has improved in this environment. We have two volunteers who practice their French with her while helping her with English and she is feeling more confident about teaching. Veronique demonstrates methods by sitting down at the sewing machine and showing. The instructors can help her by encouraging this method that cuts across language barriers.

Sales increased by 25% in 2016 and reached $85,000 to date earned by refugees from sales of their products.

We supplied Amiri Osman, a refugee who is a batik artist from the Dem. Rep. of Congo, with cotton fabric and donated dyes and an AFH volunteer helped him get acquainted with other artists in the Boise area. Amiri sold many batik pieces at our events and recently had his work shown at Flying M Coffee in downtown Boise.

We continued a work study position for a BSU student who is majoring in both English and nonprofit management. This gave us an opportunity to introduce the student to nonprofit work and make use of her excellent office skills at a fraction of the cost of employing a worker for the same time period."

A fun potluck celebration was held at Artisans For Hope last Wednesday. We're thinking we need to make a cookbooks

full of all the wonderful ethnic food. 









Donate to Artisans for Hope at Boise Co-op

The Boise Co-op has chosen Artisans for Hope as a recipient in their Change 4 Change program. 


The Boise Co-op is dedicated to giving back to our community. Our Change 4 Change Program is a way for Co-owners and shoppers to participate in that commitment with us. When customers bring in their own shopping bags, they can either earn 10¢ off their bill or choose to donate those two nickels to two of three pre-selected recipient organizations that share our commitment to a healthy community. Recipients are chosen on a quarterly basis.

The following criteria is used to guide our selections:

•    Healthy food access programs
•    Sustainable agriculture and organic food producers
•    Education in the areas of nutrition, health and wellness
•    Cooperative, community-based businesses
•    Non-profit entities that reflect Boise Co-op’s cooperative principles

Thanks Boise Co-op

Shop at Artisans For Hope for locally-made gifts! November 26th, December 10th, and December 17th

You'll find an array of beautiful hand crafted items all made here in Boise by the refugee artisans of Artisans For Hope. We'll be open for business at our showroom Saturday, November 26th, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Saturday, December 10th from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, December 17th from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. We're also open for business Monday through Friday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon. We'll close for the holidays Thursday, December 22nd and reopen in the new year on Monday, January 2nd, at 9:00 a.m.

Artisans For Hope receives grant from Idaho Commission on the Arts


Artisans For Hope has received a grant of $2,382 for operating expenses for providing sewing, knitting, and ESL classes to refugees. This project is supported by public funding for the arts through the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Idaho Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

We are so grateful for these funds that enable us to continue to provide free volunteer-taught classes for refugees here in Boise to learn or improve a skill, be part of a shared endeavor within the community, and sell the items they make.

Contact us if you are interested in volunteering, donating, or learning more about the organization may contact us via phone or email: 208-477-8828,


Artisans for Hope featured in Daily News!!

Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2016 12:00 am

By Terri Harber, Daily News staff writer |

Visual accounts of past lives are depicted by newcomers to the United States — and Idaho — on quilts coming to Moscow City Hall this month.

“This Is My Home Now: Narrative Textiles from Idaho Newcomers” will be up for viewing starting Thursday through May 11.

The official opening of the traveling exhibit will be 5 p.m. April 15 when speakers from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and Boise-based Artisans for Hope will talk about how refugees are able to develop fiber-handcraft skills while sharpening their ability to use the English language and learning how to market their acquired talents.

“Seventy-five percent of sales goes to the student who made the product,” said Elaine Garris, executive director. “They are able to connect, learn and earn.”

Artisans for Hope has disbursed over $70,000 to students.

The project has been going on for several years. A Boise writer interviewed refugees and chronicled their life experiences in their home countries, in refugee encampments, then here in the United States, Garris said.

“It’s very timely right now, and these pieces are beautiful and devastating,” said Steven Hatcher, state arts commission director of folk and traditional arts. “Their story is part of the Idaho story.”

Many Idahoans have no idea that people from around the world have found refuge in Idaho for decades. Boise and Twin Falls are sanctioned locations for refugees to live while receiving support to establish themselves in the United States.

“Many of these people are well-educated but have taken jobs driving a taxi or in housekeeping,” Hatcher said.

“They have completely changed their lives to live here, and they still do well for themselves,” he said. “It contradicts everything you hear on television talk shows.”

“These are hard-working, family-oriented, giving, welcoming people who also happen to make beautiful art.”

Hatcher tells of a woman from Afghanistan whose wedding day coincided with an attack against her community by mujahideen. On one of the quilts, a gunman is shown next to the couple as they sit in an open wagon.

Some works were lost during an arson fire last September at the Boise International Market. Those will be represented with posters at City Hall. That fire remains under investigation.

Works by Afghanis from the same collection will be shown at 7 p.m. April 14 at the Community Congregational United Church of Christ , 525 NE Campus St., Pullman, along with food and crafts for sale.

Terri Harber can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

Your Fred Meyer Purchases will benefit Artisans For Hope









Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

·       Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to AFH at You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 91993.

·       Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Artisans For Hope earn a donation!

·       You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.

·       If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

·       For more information, please visit

Artisans For Hope Sale ...(Idaho Statesman)


Artisans for Hope had a great little piece in Anna Webb's column last week. Check it out: 

And...don't forget to do your Christmas shopping next Saturday at our Hays workshop location. 

(Anna Webb, Idaho Statesman...appeared DECEMBER 7, 2015


Shop small, shop local, benefit refugee craftspeople

Artisans For Hope, a Boise nonprofit, provides a place for refugees to create handmade items, from knitted mittens and scarves to handbags and children’s clothing. When you buy an item from Artisans for Hope, 75 percent of the purchase price goes to the person who made it. The remaining 25 percent supports the operation. 

Artisans For Hope will open its basement studio and sell its wares at 723 N. 15th St. (the southwest corner of 15th and Hays) on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more here: