Zardozi – Markets for Afghan Artists
Afghanistan | Embroidery
Zardozi is a registered Afghan NGO, which started as an income-generating project with the mission to provide employment opportunities to Afghan women refugees. Nearly all the women are illiterate, but with the income they earn through their embroidery, they are able to provide for their children and themselves. Most importantly, by giving the women an opportunity to work, Zardozi also gives them the dignity of becoming self-sufficient individuals. Their product line includes a collection of hand embroidered and embellished gift items, personal accessories, home furnishings, and apparel.
Habibou Coulibaly | Textiles
Habibou Coulibaly is known for his stunning collection of handmade, African mud cloth, also known as bogolanfini. The cloth’s distinctive brown-red color comes from fermented, iron-rich mud. Habibou also works with an assortment of vegetable and mineral based dyes and first learned the dying process from his mother. At an early age, he traveled to Mali to perfect this skill where mud cloth has become a symbol of Malian cultural identity. Habibou's collection includes a unique line of bedspreads, table runners, scarves, tablecloths, handbags, and cushion covers.
Stung Treng Women’s Development Center
Chantha Nguon | Mekong Blue, Cambodia | Silk Products
Chantha Nguon started the nonprofit Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (SWDC) with a $500 donation in 2001, determined to break the cycle of poverty, prostitution, and AIDS afflicting young women in Cambodia through vocational training and legitimate employment. Today, SWDC is widely respected in Cambodia and beyond for its Mekong Blue silk products, which revive the traditional Cambodian process of 100% by-hand artisan silk making. In 2012, SWDC provided employment and other services to 63 artisans and funded 70% of expenses through the sale of Mekong Blue products.
El Arte del Crin
Alba Rose Sepulveda Tapia | Chile | Weaving
At the age of 7, Alba Sepúlveda Tapia began hand weaving delicate miniature sculptures and designs out of horse hair combined with a local agave fiber, ‘ixtle’, and has been developing her craft for more than 50 years. She started a cooperative called El Arte del Crin, made up of 52 artisans from her hometown of Rari. The cooperative was developed with the intent of creating a space for artisans to be able to support themselves through their traditional art, to engage youth in the centuries old tradition, and preserve this very important cultural heritage.
La Mega Cooperativa Artesanal de los Saraguros
Flor Maria Cartuche | Ecuador | Bead Collars
Five women’s organizations joined together in 2010 to create La Mega Cooperativa Artesanal de los Saraguros to market Saraguro beadwork internationally. Through their beadwork these artists educate their children, support their communities and a women’s shelter. All five groups have created microloan programs. Flor Maria Cartuche is a master beadwork artist of the Saraguros, indigenous Highland Ecuadorian people descended from the Incas. Saraguro women wear the Czech glass seed-bead collars daily.
“The Saraguro woman carries in her genes the skill to weave beads,” said Cartuche. Girls begin beading at the age of five. Flor directs the Fundación Warmipak Wasi, a center that helps victims of violence. Flor funded her own college education through beadwork sales.
Ebenezer Djaba Nomoda
Cedi | Ghana | Glass beads
Nicknamed by his grandmother after the Ghanaian currency, Cedi has made beads from recycled glass since he was 7 years old when he would sneak away from dinner to fill glass molds. Glass beads play an important role in Cedi’s eastern Ghanaian Krobo culture where they illustrate wealth and status. Young girls wear strings of colorful beads during the traditional dipo coming-of-age ceremony. No longer needing to sneak away, Cedi makes beads in his workshop and travels internationally to markets. He has received numerous awards for his work.
Abdullah and Abduljabbar Khatri | India | Tie Die
Abduljabbar Khatri practices the traditional bandhani – or tie and dye – processes of his community in western India. Through his innovation and with the help of his brother, friends and community members, vegetable dyes have been introduced to the process. A pattern is stenciled on fabric, then the cloth is tied by women according to the indigo-marked pattern. Men then dip the fabric in a dye solution and when the threads are removed, beautiful patterns are revealed on the cloth, used by both men and women. Today the fabric may be seen in traditional or stylish modern dresses. Abduljabbar has received the UNESCO Award of Excellence multiple times.
Kyrgyzstan | Textiles
Almost every culture around the world tells the stories of its people through handmade dolls, elaborately clothed in the traditional dress of the region. Erkebu Djumagulova is a textile artist from the capital city of Bishtek, Kyrgyzstan, who is a master at capturing the expressions and customs of the villagers of her native Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia through the intricately dressed dolls she makes from embroidered felt, wool, silk and yarn. Drawn to the traditional Kyrgyz felt arts since childhood, Erkebu followed her dreams all the way to professional art college where she carefully researched and learned the intricate arts of felt making from local folk artists around the country. Today, her repertoire includes traditional clothes and decorated household items in addition to the felt dolls for which she is most known. Her work has won numerous awards internationally, including the UNESCO Award of Excellence in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Farzana Sharshenbieva | Kyrgyzstan | Felt Rugs
Farzana Sharshenbieva has taken on the honored family tradition of making ala-kiyiz – Kyrgyz felt rugs, as well as making traditional jackets and scarves that combine silk and felt. These beautiful and delicate crafts are made with local raw materials, including natural dyes, sheep’s wool and handmade yarn from sheep.
7 Sisters has received seven UNESCO Award of Excellence commendations for its superior work.
Mexico | Silver Jewelry
Federico Jimenez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. He works together with fine traditional silversmiths in Mexico to design intricate silver filigree jewelry pieces incorporating turquoise, coral, and pearls. These centuries-old filigree designs and techniques originated in Spain and were brought to Mexico after the Spanish conquest. Hand-hammered sterling “Frida Kahlo” silver necklaces and earrings are made entirely by hand.
Federico and his wife donated a building and their collection of Mexican textiles, jewelry and folk art to the city of Oaxaca. This museum, Museo Delber-Jimenez, is a tribute to their love of traditional Mexican arts.
Hilario Alejos Madrigal
Mexico | Glazed Pottery
Hilario Alejos Madrigal creates stunning glazed pottery that is famous throughout Mexico and sought after by collectors. The colorful pineapple-shaped pots are a symbol of hospitality and goodwill and became the trademark of the Michoacán community where they originated. Working not only in the familiar green glossy glaze, Hilario often utilizes yellows and blues for his pineapples, candelabras, and punch bowls. He has won several awards, including the prestigious Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art. .
JJMARQUIN HECHO A MANO
JJ Marquin | Mexico | Embroidery
Craft production plays a large part in the economies of several native Mexican communities. The Otomí villages are well known for their vibrantly-colored, embroidered textiles, ranging from clothing to bedspreads, tablecloths, runners, pillow-cases and other accessories. The Otomí embroideries reflect the world they interact with daily – especially plants, insects, birds, animals and fish. Many girls and women still wear the traditional attire of embroidered blouses, wrap skirts and hats. JJMarquin Hecho a Mano is a family-owned business that specializes in hand-made textiles and embroidery. Based in Tlaquepaque, near Guadalajara, JJMarquin is dedicated to sustaining the diverse textile traditions of Mexico.
Artisanat des Femmes de Khenifra
Morocco | Buttons
Artisanat des Femmes de Khenifra is a cooperative of 18 women from low-income families. Each member learned the craft of djellaba button making from her mother or grandmothers. Traditionally, these buttons were made to sell to tailors who make djellabas, the traditional hooded and buttoned caftan worn by Moroccan and Berber women.
Cooperative members make the buttons at home using a special sabra thread for use in clothing. After plying together two-to-three strands of one or more colors, the buttons are then hand-woven around a small core of plastic or wood, using needle and thread. The women formed a cooperative so that they could become more self-sustaining and find markets for their work.
Omba Arts Trust
Namibia | Baskets, Jewelry
Omba Arts Trust supports the sustainable livelihoods of marginalized communities through the development and marketing of unique Namibian crafts. We specialize in baskets made from palm leaves and natural dyes from the northern regions of Namibia. Though suitable for contemporary homes, our baskets are all rooted in traditional cultures using various techniques. Contemporary San jewelry made from ostrich eggshell beads continues a 40,000-year-old tradition of the original hunter gatherers of southern Africa. Bracelets fashioned from recycled PVC pipe are a traditional form of jewelry worn by the Ovahimba people, but make a modern fashion statement.
Niger | Jewelry
Elhadji Koumama heads a cooperative that specializes in making exquisite jewelry using 99% pure fine silver, ebony wood and semi-precious stones. The Koumama family makes jewelry using the lost wax method, hand hammering, and engraving with simple tools using methods and patterns their forefathers used centuries ago. Every necklace, bracelet, earring and ring is beautifully unique and hand made with great attention to detail and quality.
Niger is one of the poorest countries on earth. Tourists who once bought jewelry from the Koumamas no longer come because of the Al-Qaeda kidnappings. The Koumamas are now almost entirely dependent on sales of jewelry in the U.S. to support themselves and their community.
Poetic Threads of Pakistan
Pakistan | Jewelry | Embroidery
Poetic Threads of Pakistan is a socially conscious organization, working with artisans from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to build sustainable livelihoods and preserve cultural handcrafting traditions. Located along the Afghan border, this region is generally represented in mainstream media as a site of ongoing conflict and instability. We aim to present a different face of artisans’ lives by highlighting the area’s ancient, rich and dynamic culture. We work with individual artisans and local organizations, helping empower regional artisans affected by ongoing conflict and past natural disasters, by promoting handicrafts and intercultural dialogue and maintaining commitment to ethical business practices. Our product line includes unique Moghul reproduction jewelry, exquisitely embroidered apparel, accessories and home décor.
Palestinian Territories | Hebron Glass
Hebron Glass was founded by the Natsheh Family in 1890, and is located in the historic West Bank city of Hebron. There are 60 inspired artisans, women and men, who carry on this ancient tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. The artisans produce traditional glass and ceramic items, earning excellent income and benefiting from safe working environments. The artists of Hebron Glass operate in three main workshops, as well as in their own homes. They use recycled glass and every piece is unique, lead-free and safe to use.
Macedonio Eduardo Palomino Torres and Luzmila Huarancca Gutierez | Peru | Embroidery
The hand-embroidered textiles created by Artesanias WARI-URPI embody traditional, brightly-colored representations of the flora and fauna of Peru. WARI-URPI was founded by Macedonio Eduardo Palomino Torres and his wife, master embroiderer, Luzmila Huarancca Gutierrez in 2004. Today, WARI-URPI is made up of over 300 embroiderers and weavers who come from rural communities surrounding Ayacucho, Peru. WARI-URPI’s textiles can be traced back to the eighth century B.C and this work is worn daily by the women of the Huanta-Ayacucho region. Embroidered shawls called llicllac are often used to carry children, crops or wood. Other spectacularly-embroidered garments are worn during the feast of the Virgin of Cocharcas.
Gahaya Links Cooperative
Janet Nkubana and Joy Ndungutse | Rwanda | Baskets
For centuries, Rwandan women have taken up basket weaving as part of their rite of passage into adulthood. The baskets, which are woven with a variety of organic reeds and grasses using traditional tools, carry designs with longstanding and particular cultural meanings.
Following the Rwandan Genocide, the Gahaya Links Cooperatives were founded as a way of turning Rwanda’s ancient basket weaving tradition into a source of livelihood for the rural women who found themselves without any means of support. In 2005, the baskets and the women were featured in O Magazine, the magazine of American talk show icon, Oprah Winfrey. The baskets have also been promoted in the displays of Macy’s department stores throughout the United States.
Spain | Jewelry
Luis began working at his father’s filigree jewelry workshop in Tamames, Salamanca, when he was 14. He and his brothers now represent the third generation of goldsmiths in their family. They are consummate goldsmiths in the authentic Charro button and fine handmade filigree jewelry in gold and silver. A traditional goldsmith technique introduced by Greek and Phoenician settlers in Spain and Portugal, filigree is similar to textile embroidery, employing gold and silver threads that are smoothed or twisted, and sometimes, worked over a metal sheet. Luis was honored for his work with a Muscat International Award in Oman in 2012.
Swaziland | Baskets
With a passion for excellence and respect for the earth, the remarkable women of Tintsaba create beautiful handmade products centered around the use of sisal, a sustainable natural weed that grows wild in Swaziland. Collections represent the finest woven sisal baskets, and refined sisal and silver jewelry created by their most experienced master weavers and silversmiths.
Tintsaba has trained over 900 women, building on traditional knowledge and “bringing Love and Joy from Swaziland” into their work. Throughout the training process, self-development and social programs are included in Tintsaba's holistic approach.
At its core, Tintsaba is its women.
Uzbekistan | Woodworking
Radjab Khayotov is a woodworking master recognized for his wonderfully carved and intricately painted boxes, plates, trays, tables and chess sets. Coming from a family of craftsmen, he became attached to the woodworking craft from an early age. He mastered the techniques of making gavora, a traditional cradle and alvonch, swing beds for children.
Khayotov and his apprentices are engaged in creating lacquered wooden items. Radjab has participated in a number of internationally acclaimed crafts festivals and received UNESCO’s Seal of Excellence for Handicraft Products in Central Asia in 2005 and 2006.
Uzbekistan | Silk Products
Rasuljon represents five generations of ikat weavers in the city of Margilan in the Fergana Valley, the most famous place for silk production in Central Asia. His family is at the vanguard of a revival of velvet ikat weaving in which white silk threads are dyed and placed on a narrow loom, a technique that is highly complicated and practiced by very few. The process requires a month to produce just a few yards of fabric.
Rasuljon has created ikat cloth for international designers to use in their annual collections and in 2005 his work was awarded a Seal of Excellence by UNESCO.