Artesanas Campesinas is a cooperative of women artisans in Tecalpulco, Mexico. Artisans in this area have long been creating silver and abalone jewelry that you see here. There jewelry pieces include earrings, bracelets, and barrettes made with semi-precious stones, shells, and miniature flowers dried in resin set in silver alloys. This woman-owned cooperative gives the women the opportunity to excel and manage their own businesses practices. They’ve been successful at maintain quality, improving methods to stay competitive, and create new designs as they see the market change.
Asha Handcrafts is a non-profit based in Mumbai, India. Asha partners with many skilled artisans throughout India, providing them with design assistance, reliable orders, fair wages and more. We carry Asha’s line of printed cotton scarves. Asha Handcrafts is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.
Conserve India is a fair trade organization based out of New Delhi's poorest city slums. The project began as a recycling project born of a desire to reduce India's mountain of waste, and improve energy efficiency. However, they soon realized that up-cycling could better help solve the massive problem while providing income for artisans.
Conserve began the upcycling project by converting the mountains of plastic bags into high fashion handbags. The plastic bags were washed, dried, and pressed into sheets before being woven into functional projects.
Today the project has grown to include better designs for handbags, wallets, shoes and belts and now also includes other materials such as unused leather jean labels. Conserve India has now been able to use high fashion as a means to support better lives for the poor and a cleaner environment for all
Artisans in Cambodia skillfully mold bullets and bomb shells left over from Cambodia's wartime decades ago into beautiful jewelry pieces.
With the support of Craftworks Cambodia, a fair trade organization, the artisans generate an income that will provide their families and their communities the chance at a better future. Artisans make a fair wage for their work and receive support for education and training.
Haitian artisans make beautiful metal sculptures from recycled steel oil drums. These sculptures are made into decorative metal wall art decor and other décor items. The artists, mostly men, are centered around Croix-des-Bouquets, a small town near Port-au-Prince. The artists flatten the drums and use stencil drawings they’ve made on cardboard to transfer their designs onto the metal. Chisels and hammers are used to cut and shape the steel into beautiful creations. Large creations can take an entire day to create, while smaller pieces can be finished in 2-3 hours. Most sculptures are signed by the artists.
Many pieces are left in their natural silver color, while other are hand painted in bright colors. Each piece is coated with a weather-resistant varnish and can be used for indoor or outdoor use. Sculptures placed outside should be coated with an additional clear anti-rust enamel spray once a year to prevent rust.
A fair trade company that is committed to providing skills and economic opportunities to women artisans in Nepal. The women design and produce unique sustainable handbags. In addition, the company has established a tailoring school where women can learn to use sewing machines, a skills that can increase wages up to 10 times.
The Encantada Mexico Pottery is made in a small family workshop in the state of Guanajuato. The women artisans hand paint the un-fired ceramics while the men work the kilns. Dating back to the late 70's, each piece is unique with handpainted designs in dots and swirls. All pieces are lead free, microwave and dishwasher safe.
Raina Mazwiembiri and her two daughters make unique seedpod bird using pods in Zimbabwe. Raina took over the business from her husband. Her and her daughters collect the seedpods, use wire and putty for the beaks and legs, and hand paint each to create these unique birds from Africa.
SMOLArt is a group of artisans based in the rural village of Tabaka, Kenya. This is the center of Kenya's soapstone carving region. The organization was established in 1990 and are members of the World Fair Trade Organization. The artisans receive a fair wage for their work and the project provides community development support through projects that improve living conditions, education, and health of their members.
Soapstone is mined from great pits in the area surrounding Kiisi, Kenya. The mined soapstone is then delivered to carvers who carve sculptures from the natural stone for the wholesale market, the color of which ranges from cream, to pink, to brown, to yellow, to black, to a marbling of all of them. Once carved, the craftspeople smooth rough edges of the soapstone with sandpaper dipped in water and polish the piece to a high gloss or paint African motifs in brilliant colors with etched accents.
All of the soapstone products we sell are completely handmade. The tools consist of household items from screwdrivers, hand drills, to switchblades. "Pangas," sword-like tools usually used for cutting down vegetation, are used to cleave the stone in the mines.
Tonga Textiles is a family run business set in the heart of Harare, Zimbabwe, the capital. They are comprised of a dedicated team of artisans who specialize in Sadza Batiks, creating modern textiles that exemplify the true essence of an African lifestyle.
The founder, Jeremiah Makaza, a Zimbabwean-born artist is dedicated to making a positive social change through batik art. Tonga Textiles is a fair trade company that employs both men and women, empowering them through training and reliable long term employment; helping to alleviate poverty within the community. Learn more about the Sadza Batik technique in our blog.