Tish Siemion spent 25 years teaching. She moved to Sedona in 1988 and worked with clay, antique buttons, and jewelry. During a trip to Mexico, where she helped establish a language program, she learned that the vendors at the market only sold their goods locally. Interested in fair trade, she started a co-op to help the Aztecs sell their goods more widely. Fair trade helps producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. It advocates for higher payment for exporters as well as improved social and environmental standards.
Soon, a Mayan friend introduced her to fair trade work in Guatemala as well. Tish now works with Mayans in Mexico and Guatemala, Aztecs in Mexico, Tigua in Ecuador, and descendants of the Inca in Peru. During her travels to central and South America, Tish has witnessed the construction of hospitals and schools that have sprung up thanks to money made from the arts.