Dire economic conditions, a UN embargo, gang-related crime, political turmoils, kidnappings and extreme poverty have been the many obstacles that the majority of Haitians have faced. In spite of these challenges, as well as the 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s artisan community has looked towards the future with hope and elbow grease.
Uqllu (pronounced ook-loo) comes from Incan mythology where the Goddess Uqllu was known for fertility and maternity, but also known for teaching the women of the Andes the art of spinning thread and creating striking and colorful textiles with intricate designs.
Lorena Figueroa is nervous. She is traveling to New York City to exhibit in the upcoming Artisan Resource show with the hope to make important connections with American retailers. On display will be her finely crafted home decor items all made in Guatemala. Among the many products that will be featured will be her new Lorenza Filati collection that includes hand-woven and embroidered pillows, napkin rings, table runners, kitchen towels, and much more.
The Red Sari encompasses the spirit of giving back. Their story begins on the streets of Paknajol, a majestic neighborhood within the ancient city of Kathmandu. It was in that city, where founder Julie West began selecting damaged vintage silk saris suitable for felting. From this point on, Julie put her energy into creating a production center and successful social enterprise, turning the recycled saris into gorgeous and wearable line of accessories.
In response to the poverty and joblessness among Deaf people in Kenya, an organization called the D.O.O.R. International (Deaf Opportunity OutReach), took the initiative and founded Sasa Designs by the Deaf. This social enterprise has paved a new way to provide dignified and empowered work opportunities to Deaf women who can now earn a solid income and celebrate their potential through the production of handcrafted jewelry. Their new spring line is gorgeous, inspired by Kenya’s land and people, and utilizes glass, brass, bone, and leather to create a versatile collection.