Our newly arrived table linens come with touching stories from India. Throughout 10 artisan groups, social enterprise Sustainable Threads matches product development efforts with the skill sets of each community. Their goal is to build long-term, fair-trade partnerships with artisans from the most disadvantaged communities.
In the past, people with disabilities faced extreme discrimination in India. The prejudice continues till today, and as a result, this community keeps facing steep challenges to finding employment. In Haryana, a small eight-person weaving unit offers employment and life skill training to people with physical disabilities, allowing them to use traditional weaving skills to create modern, functional pieces. As an avenue for greater financial independence and social acceptance, this non-profit social enterprise also provides scholarships for the children of their artisans, as well as a revolving loan fund for young adults to pursue higher education.
Photo: Sustainable Threads
These table cloths are entirely hand-woven in Haryana from natural cotton, with hand-pressed ridged patterns subtly enriching the texture.
In Assam, indigenous Bodo women are masters of bamboo hand looms. They string silk threads vertically upon the looms, then weave horizontal interlacing threads in decorative patterns. Unlike in the production of most commercial silks that kills the silk worms in the process, silkworm cocoons here are collected only after the moths have emerged. Artisans wait patiently for silk worms to live out their life cycles, metamorphose into moths and vacate their cocoons. Therefore, the silk they use is known as ahimsa, or peace silk.
Photo: Cox and Kings
Our favorites are these raw silk table runners dyed with natural indigo and turmeric - a locally-grown yellow spice. No pesticide or chemicals were used during any of the production processes.
View the entire collection of Sustainable Threads here.
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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.