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: To build a sustainable business for both the environment and the people.
Discarded beverage bottles and broken glass pieces are melted, tinted, and blown into a variety of new wares, including tumblers, pitchers, vases, and other household items. This process of recyce is completely done by hand. The creation of each new glassware requires at least three artisans working seamlessly together.
Started from a small loan for basic equipment, the worker-owned cooperative now has 36 artisans in the workshop, providing them and their families with living wages, insurance, education and training. 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.
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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."
Among the thousands of artisans we work with - both directly and indirectly - around the world, over 70% are women. And the majority of these artisan women are mothers. By making and selling their handicrafts, they have become proud providers for their families, creating a stable stream of income and much needed opportunities for their children to receive education and healthcare.