With wool sourced directly from the nearby mountains and whimsical design from Brooklyn, New York, women artisans in Kyrgyzstan are crafting gifts and decorations with their traditional technique of wet felting. This generations-old technique creates a textile that is strong and incredibly soft to the touch, making it a beautiful medium to connect the heritage of Kyrgyz nomadic culture with our modern urban lifestyle.
Consisting of pillows, rugs, and baskets, Ximena's home collection is entirely handcrafted at artisan cooperatives throughout Colombia, using only natural materials native each region - wool, fique, and palm leaves. "This collection is about empowerment," says Ximena. "I strive to empower artisans in my homeland, and these designs are the way to bring their skill set, my vision, and creativity to life."
Founded by former diplomat Amal Oudrhiri, AYOU works with artisan women in the mountains near Azilal, Morocco to create the world renowned signature product of this country: wool rugs. Each weaver receives a stable wage from AYOU, and works on her own pace to create her dream rug.
"In fact, that's how the real traditional Moroccan rugs are made - each rug is designed as the artisan - usually a woman - starts to weave on the loom."
In the Guatemalan highlands of Momostenango, Totonicapán, cold weather and high altitude favor the quality of wool. A strong wool weaving tradition has been present for generations. First men, and now women are weaving carpets and blankets with locally sourced wool on their wooden foot looms.
The sustainable production cycle of tagua nuts contributes to rainforest conservation in South America, while alleviating the threat to elephants in Africa from the ivory trade.
In the small village of Cantel, Guatemala, a group of 17 glass artisans joined together in 1976 and opened COPAVIC, the Recycled Glass Cooperative of Cantel. Their vision was clear and simple: Build a sustainable business for both the environment and the people. Over the past 40 years, COPAVIC's pursuit of a protected environment and greater economic freedom has never ceased as they continue to transform recycled glass into beautiful glassware.
With no written language, the Hmong people create intricate patterns on batik textiles, and use them as story-telling devices. Batik, this wax-resist dyeing technique, has been passed down by the Hmong for generations.
The Nankeen dyeing technique, dating back 3,000 years, is native to China’s Jiangsu province. Known also as Lan Yin Hua Bu (蓝印花布) and Blue Calico, it’s still practiced traditionally today in a handful of small workshops. Using hand-cut paper screens, soybean paste thickened with lime, and natural indigo dye, artisans print contemporary versions of ancient patterns on locally-grown cottons and linens outside the city of Shanghai.
We have been long-time admirers of Indian woodblock printing. The intricate patterns often carry traditional cultural meanings, as well as legacy of the tribes they originally come from.