ABOUT OUR ARTISANS
In the earliest Peruvian history, you will find examples of the bond between the Incas and alpaca. The Incas placed a higher value on alpaca fiber than gold or silver. The knowledge and craftsmanship of spinning and knitting has been passed down from generation to generation, resulting in the rich, diverse textile heritage of Peru. New patterns are combined with traditional methods, giving an innovative touch without losing the ethical heritage.
The alpaca live mostly without any boundaries in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes and are not harmed during the shearing process. Their soft padded feet are gentle on the grass terrain and they graze without destroying the root system of the area. Alpaca is the only animal that produces up to 28 natural colors and can be blended into an infinite array of natural shades from inky black to warm chestnuts and snowy white. It is easily dyed in any color and always retains its natural luster.
Alpaca is supple and smooth to the touch and because of the featherweight, it’s ultra-light. Alpaca is softer than cashmere and warmer and stronger than lamb’s wool. It contains microscopic air pockets which create lightweight clothing with excellent insulating properties. It is a completely natural fiber and there is no use of harsh chemicals in production.
Our Turkish towels have been loomed in Babadağ, a small mountain village in southwest Turkey by a local cooperative. The group prides themselves on keeping the looming tradition alive, utilizing manual craftsmanship without compromising quality. The fringe is hand knotted and they only use eco-friendly, 100% natural fibers such as cotton and bamboo. From start to finish, the entire process is done in house. The patterns feature vibrant motifs conveying the timeless cultural heritage of the Anatolia culture.
Some of our products include Turkish towels which were originally used in Turkish baths, also known as peshtemals or hammam towels, have been traditionally hand-loomed in Turkey for centuries. They are made using extra-long fibers which gives them a lightweight, yet highly absorbent quality.
Our Turkish throws are loomed by small, family owned workshops in the Denizli region of Turkey. Weaving is the main source of income for these skilled weavers, who pride themselves on keeping the looming tradition alive, utilizing manual craftsmanship without compromising quality. They only use eco-friendly, OEKO-TEX certified, 100% natural fibers such as cotton and bamboo and colors are achieved through non-harmful dyes. Tassels are hand-knotted by women in their homes.
Laos is a country of diverse ethnic groups, each with unique and highly adept craft and artisan skills, but the pressures of modern life and the availability of cheap factory made imports have resulted in Lao people giving up their crafts and their rural livelihoods. As a result, many of the crafts of Laos are vanishing art forms. Our design and production teams work closely with artisan groups in Laos to create items that fit modern, natural lifestyles while still retaining the spirit of traditional craftsmanship. Guided by the principles of fair trade, we work to create employment opportunities for villagers, especially women, and to reduce poverty and each product is made and finished in the villages.
The cotton used to make these pillows is planted by hand and watered by the monsoon rains. It takes eight months for the plant to produce the cotton flower, then it is picked by hand, ginned by hand (a difficult and tedious activity), and then spun into yarn by hand. Traditional wood and bamboo looms are used by weavers to transform the cotton fiber into cotton cloth.
Indigo dying is a skill that is passed on through generations and is an ancient art steeped in myths. Menstruating women are kept away from the indigo jars for fear of upsetting the “indigo spirit” and rendering the dye useless. Indigo dye is made from the leaves and shoots of the “kharm” plant, which grows in many areas in Laos. Getting the raw materials for indigo may be easy, but making it is an art. It involves fermentation of the “kharm” and keeping the mixture in air-tight jars at the required temperature.
Nepal/Tibetan Himalayan cashmere is renowned as some of the softest cashmere in the world. Cashmere is extremely light and luxuriously soft yet keeps you extremely warm. Cashmere comes from the softest undercoat of a goat and it takes an average of three goats wool to make one scarf!
All of our cashmere scarves and throws are handloomed in Pokhara Nepal by blind, deaf, or disabled weavers. We partner with a local non-profit organization that provides them with the tools, training, and support necessary to become independent through weaving. In Nepal, the disabled are discriminated against in mainstream society. They have little or no opportunities for work. Weaving allows them to enjoy an independent life, increases their self-esteem and also improves the way they are treated by their family. The organization further gives back to the disabled community by donating white canes, hearing aids and wheel-chairs, providing food, medicine and essential goods for aged-care homes, helping the poor and distributing relief to earthquake and landslide victims. With such a great cause, these are our most favorite pieces!
Located in rural Takeo Province, Cambodia is a sustainable weaving cooperative who believe that social entrepreneurship empowers people and the community. They identify aspiring entrepreneurs and invest in them by sharing knowledge through mentorship and training and provide interest free seed capital to help establish sustainable micro businesses. The successful entrepreneurs then become the catalyst of change by becoming mentors themselves and inspiring other community members. Entrepreneurs take responsibility for their future, help alleviate poverty and improve the life of their families and community. This creates a ripple effect of sustainable, scalable positive impact, one village at a time.
Made only in an ethical, fair trade environment. Our items are handwoven by a cooperative of women located in Rwanda.
These delicately textured and handcrafted home decor items were made by groups of women in intimate communities across Uganda. They use the raffia plant and sweet grass to weave them together.