The World Trade Center atrium will come alive with the culture and art from more than 15 countries June 18-22, during Total Home & Gift Market Market. The International Folk Art Market | Collection, a Dallas exclusive, brings together folk art artisans from around the world – offering buyers unique product that truly makes a difference.
 
Created in conjunction with the International Folk Art Alliance, the Collection supports global communities through commerce, allowing the groups to learn to work with retailers on the wholesale level to sustain revenue for their villages year-round. Products will be available for purchase for retailers to test and reorder.
 
Many products sold during the Collection support disadvantaged populations suffering from poverty, HIV/AIDs, and limited access to education or vocation training. Below are descriptions of a few exhibitors and how they are making a difference in their communities:
 
Beads of Esiteti – Beaded jewelry and clothing – Kenya
Created in 2010, Beads of Esiteti supports nearly 300 Maasai women in Esiteti/Embarinkoi, Kenya. Through economic empowerment, the fair-trade organization aims to decrease cases of early marriage, HIV/AIDS and female mutilation common in Maasailand. The brightly-colored beadwork comes in single strands, tribal and warrior patterns, and earth-toned bangles and scarves. Maasai women use the income generated from their beadwork to sustain themselves, their children and community.
 
Mekong Blue – Silk accessories and home furnishings – Cambodia
Mekong Blue, supported by the Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (STWDC), assists Cambodian women in breaking vicious cycles of poverty, prostitution and AIDS through education, vocation training and employment. More than 70 women employed at STWDC work in weaving houses producing fine silk products made with 100 percent natural silk fibers and non-toxic German dye. Products include luxury bedding, craft fabric, clothing and home wares in hundreds of bright colors and patterns.
 
 
Uganda Crafts – Basketry – Uganda
Uganda Crafts provides employment and training to more than 300 artisans who contribute to the fair-trade organization. A majority of artisans are among Uganda’s most disadvantaged populations: the disabled, widows and people living with HIV/AIDS. The artisans’ craft primarily includes basket weaving, carried out by local women in their homes between domestic duties. The detailed process includes coiling local leaf fibers around long strips of banana stems. Uganda Crafts offers retailers customizable colors, size and design options.
 
 
Rasuljon Mirzaahmedov – Ikat textiles, home furnishings, bags, shoes, table runners, clothing and pillows – Uzbekistan
Rasuljon represents five generations of ikat weavers in the most famous place for silk production in Central Asia. His family is at the vanguard of a revival of velvet ikat weaving, a technique that is highly complicated and practiced by very few. The process requires a month to produce just a few yards of fabric.
 
 
For a full list of the 21 exhibitors, visit the International Folk Art Market | Collection webpage. Hope to see you there!
 
-Kian Hervey