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There are few art forms as meditative, nostalgic and all-around blissful as the coloring book. There's just something magical about the ability to transform black-and-white pages into full blown works of art, without ever once undergoing a creative meltdown in the process.
Yes, we're waxing poetic about our third grade creative outlet of choice, the unassuming booklet of canvases that turns even the most reticent of artists into budding creative spirits. Basford, a commercial illustrator based in the UK, modeled her first book The Secret Garden after the Brodick Castle Gardens on the Isle of Arran, on the West Coast of Scotland. Dubbing herself an "inky illustrator," Basford uses monochromatic lines to create wild naturescapes waiting to be filled with vitality.
Consider trading in your yoga mat for a set of markers and peruse the gorgeous gardens of Basford's imagination below. Johanna Basford's intricate hand-drawn coloring books for adults have sold nearly 1.5 million copies worldwide. Basford began her career making hand-printed wallpapers and was approached by an editor at Laurence King to do a traditional children's coloring book in 2012.
Although her books are aimed at adults, Basford says that the audience is broad, citing emails and photographs she’s received from young girls, financial workers, art students, mothers, stressed teenagers, retirees, hospital patients, and more. Basford's elaborately rendered illustrations include hidden elements like a€?a rogue butterfly, a tiny beetle or an elusive white rabbit,a€? she says, to add mystery and whimsy to the drawings. Basford draws inspiration from a library of botanical books she inherited from her paternal grandparents, who were both gardeners. Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.
Myanmar’s vast jade trade is being secretly controlled by networks of military elites, drug lords and crony companies associated with the darkest days of junta rule, an explosive 12-month investigation by Global Witness reveals today.
As the country approaches a general election on 8 November, the report, “Jade: Myanmar’s ‘Big State Secret’”, shows that the elites who have most to lose from an open and fair future also have access to a multi-billion dollar jade ‘slush fund’. New findings and analysis by Global Witness put the value of Myanmar’s jade production as high as US$31 billion in 2014 alone. The report reveals how the families of notorious figures including former dictator Than Shwe and ruling party bigwigs Minister Ohn Myint and Maung Maung Thein are major players in jade. The jade business is wreaking havoc on the people and environment of Kachin, where the stone is mined.

Global Witness is arguing that the US and Myanmar’s other partners should benchmark the lifting of sanctions and future aid disbursements to reforms of the jade industry. 2) The basis for Global Witness’ US$31 billion estimate of Myanmar’s jade sector in 2014 is laid out in Appendix 1 to the report.
Estimates for the average price of each grade of jade, based on a detailed breakdown of sales at the 2014 Myanmar Gems Emporium (the major official sales event aimed at international buyers in that year), and sales information for a domestic sale of utility (low quality) jade in October 2014. 3) Global Witness has also produced an alternative estimate of the value of jade production in 2014, based on Chinese trade data. Type “El Nino” into Google and the results number almost 15 million - it’s a very hot subject right now and will be for at least the rest of this year.
Frequently Asked Questions - Get answers to common problems and learn more about ReliefWeb. The process is intuitive, carefree -- the artistic equivalent of a low-stakes game of freeze tag. And although most practitioners of this enchanting art form haven't yet hit puberty, there are ways for adults to participate in the glorious art of the coloring book. The artist has sold over one million copies of Secret Garden worldwide, which has been translated into over 14 different languages.
Since the early 20th century, psychologists including Carl Jung have preached the tranquil advantages of the technique. I think there is something natural and soulful about the little intricacies which are evident in a hand-crafted illustration,” she said. I draw the outline and create the composition, then the owner of the book brings the color.
This should sound loud alarm bells for reformist elements in the Myanmar government and its international partners, particularly the US. This figure equates to nearly half of the entire country’s GDP, and over 46 times national spending on health, yet the local population sees little benefit. Elsewhere, US-sanctioned drug lord Wei Hsueh Kang plays a dominant role through a web of front companies, while Myanmar’s army is helping itself to a gigantic slice of the pie via its own conglomerates and an elaborate extortion racket run by officers in Kachin State.
Conditions around the mines are often fatally dangerous and drugs and prostitution are endemic, while those who stand in the way of the guns and machines face land grabs, intimidation and violence. The industry generates funds for both sides in a war which has claimed thousands of lives and seen 100,000 people displaced since it reignited in 2011. Alongside their pursuit of peace negotiations, reformers in government last year signed Myanmar up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international scheme designed to stop corruption and abuse in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

The US has a partnership on the extractive industries with Myanmar government and is a key supporter of EITI. These must prioritise sharing control and benefits more equitably with Kachin State, and making the business accountable to the Myanmar public.
It must make this a priority for its partnership with the new government that emerges from November’s elections,” said Juman Kubba.
It does not take account of any jade which is not officially recorded at the jade mine sites.
Enter Johanna Basford, the intrepid soul behind two adult coloring books, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, spreading the gospel of the coloring book to aspiring artists of a certain age. There's something undeniably accessible about the semi-blank pages of a coloring book that provides the training wheels so many budding artists crave. The jade is worth equivalent to US$21,000 per year for each person in Kachin State, yet locals are systematically cut out of the business. This creates incentives for military commanders and hardliners in government to prolong the conflict and protect the ill-gotten assets they stand to lose if the jade business is run more openly and fairly. EITI offers a credible framework for change, but unless officials take urgent steps to implement its recommendations openly and fully in the jade business, the process risks being a sham,” said Juman Kubba.
It also has specific sanctions on the jade sector, imposed during the Than Shwe dictatorship to deny money and power to abusive members of the military junta. If one calculates an average price per kilogram of jade imports as indicated by Chinese 2014 import data and combines it with Myanmar government production figures for the same year, this produces as estimate of almost US$38 billion; again suggesting that the value of the jade sector was above US$30 billion in 2014.
The loss of livelihoods and massive environmental damage is stoking unrest and resentment in a highly volatile region.
The report argues that the question of who manages and benefits from Kachin State’s jade must be addressed now and built into a comprehensive peace agreement to end the conflict. Yet this report shows that many of those same individuals dominate the jade business today, alongside other infamous figures who are subject to US sanctions for their involvement in the drugs trade.
A blank sheet of paper can be daunting, but a coloring book has the outlines already there, making it easier to pick up a pencil and begin making your mark.

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