Oba Project coordinators and participants: (left to right): Pat Norikane-Logerwell, Sandy Lew, Carol Grisham, and Elaine Wetterauer.
Oba Project coordinators and participants: (left to right): Pat Norikane-Logerwell, Sandy Lew, Carol Grisham, and Elaine Wetterauer.

On Dec. 3, a store in downtown Seattle opened for business – the business of giving. At the Sandy Lew Clothing and Accessories store (1401 First Avenue), a trunk show for a cause had dozens of women of all ages “oohing” and “aahing” to specially hand-woven purses. The trunk show coordinators are from the Oba Project – a collaborative effort of nearly 40 multi-generational volunteers ages 25 – 99 years-old, donating their time and skills to produce “hand-fabricated” accessories for sale, with 100 percent of the proceeds gong to charity. Adorable woven satchels, tote bags and small purses were made by hand from “high quality Peruvian wool and alpaca yarns, wet-felted and embellished.”

The volunteers, who include knitting enthusiasts and artists, will choose a community organization each year to contribute its proceeds to. This year, Nikkei Concerns’ Seattle Keiro garden project is the recipient of the charity. Nikkei Concerns is a local Asian American elder care community agency, celebrating 35 years serving the needs of aging APIs.

Among the main coordinators for the Oba Project are Pat Norikane-Logerwell, Carole Grisham, and Elaine Wetterauer. Norikane-Logerwell said the volunteers have been knitting since June, creating accessories some would consider “woven art”.

“It’s high fashion meets high purpose!” said Norikane-Logerwell at the trunk show.

Business owner and metalworks artist Sandy Lew donated her store to showcase the purses and demonstrate why it’s important for people to contribute to their communities and collaborate with one another.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Lew. “It’s about women who want to do charity work — giving and helping each other.”

Norikane-Logerwell agrees. “As a group, we have more power to give.”

To learn more about the Oba Project or make a purchase, please visit www.obaproject.com. To get more information about Nikkei Concerns, visit www.nikkeiconcerns.org. To learn more about Sandy Lew Clothing and Accessories, visit www.sandylew.com or visit her shop at 1401 First Ave., in downtown Seattle.