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Hampden artist using weaving skills to help people of Ukraine

Support in western Massachusetts continues to grow for people of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 12:45 PM EST
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HAMPDEN, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Support in western Massachusetts continues to grow for people of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Erica Jansons has been weaving for 20 years, selling products from her company, the Latvian Weaver, throughout the community. However, when she heard about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she felt a strong pull to weave for the cause.

“It just hit me. I can weave. I don’t need to keep the proceeds. Why don’t I see if anybody is interested in buying these knowing that I will be donating the proceeds to a Ukrainian relief fund,” Jansons explained.

Jansons herself has family ties to Latvia, a small European nation that is taking in Ukrainian refugees doing its part to help, which inspired her to donate to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“I wanted to do something. I’m Latvian and we are all kind of on edge that Latvia and the Baltics might be next in Putin’s crosshairs, so I wanted to do something to help it’s kind of close to home for me,” Jansons added.

She told Western Mass News orders came pouring in when word spread about her towels, capping her orders at 44 in order to keep up with the weaving, but Jansons said some people continue to donate additional funds bringing her total to over $1,500 while others offering supplies to assist.

“There’s a yarn supplier in Rhode Island called Peters Patch’s Yarns and he donated the blue and a very generous customer of mine, who had a bunch of gift cards to use, got the yellow yarn from Northampton,” Jasons said.

However, Jansons true mission behind this is “If there is any other artisans out there, if they have a way to provide a service or a product and take in payments for that and you’re willing to donate that to any Ukrainian friend out there, I hope they will use this template to do that.”

Jansons is looking for a local business to match her donation before she sends the proceeds off early next week. CLICK HERE for more information on how to reach her.