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.
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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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.
With no written language, the Hmong people create intricate patterns on Batik textiles, and use them as story-telling devices. On a piece of washed and beaten fabric, skillful Hmong artisans draw intricate patterns with a pencil. They then apply hot wax on the patterns to form a dye-resist. After soaking the fabric in natural indigo and removing the wax, the dyed areas turn deep blue while the waxed areas remain in their original color, displaying a beautiful, patterned contrast.
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.