Photo courtesy of The Palmist
Unable to travel amidst the pandemic, one of the things I’ve missed most is connecting to artisan communities around the world and shopping local markets for traditional handicrafts. While I’m currently spending most of my days from within the confines of my 400-square foot New York City apartment, I’m comforted by the treasures I’ve collected throughout my travels. Ceramics from Oaxaca, rugs from Marrakech and Jaipur, woven baskets from Bogota, art from Trancoso. These items aren’t just stuff, they hold memories for me. They also represent hundreds of years of tradition, and encapsulate my connection to the artisans whose hands spent weeks making them. Though I can’t travel as I would like to at the moment, my collection of souvenirs brings my travels to me, and serves as a reminder that the impact of shopping small and intentionally is greater than ever. Not only is it important to support these artisan communities around the world to help preserve their livelihoods and traditions, but the power of these items – filling my home with warmth and love in a time of uncertainty and isolation – is far greater than I understood when I bought them.
If you’re looking for somewhere more curated than Etsy, let these online shops be your source for the best artisan crafts around the world as you continue supporting global artisan communities from the comfort of your couch.
Courtesy of Cicileu
Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, contains some of the country’s most beautiful artisanal creations. Yet, with standardized production on the rise, it’s become harder for younger generations to see the value in continuing the handmade traditions of their ancestors. In an effort to protect these traditional, hand-made practices, local Puglian, Francesca Bonomo, along with her two children, Edoardo and Martina launched Cicileu. Through their curated online marketplace, the family continues telling the story of these soulful treasures, in hopes of giving local artisans a channel to share their craft with the rest of the world. The byproduct? Younger generations are now inspired to follow suit.
Photographer: Kate Berry
Founded by Vera Claire, Cosa Buena is a social enterprise and non-profit organization based in Oaxaca that connects cultures and supports preservation of traditional art forms through equitable exchange. Along with offering travel retreats to curious and creative travelers, Cosa Buena launched an e-commerce platform that functions as a bridge between local Oaxacan artists and armchair travelers hoping to introduce Oaxacan handicrafts into their homes. From ceramics, to decorative wall hangings, to art and accessories, Cosa Buena features the best of what Oaxaca’s artisan community has to offer. Contact [email protected] to purchase.
Courtesy of The Palmist
Clementina Calleri launched The Palmist as a means to honor the different artisanal practices she’s come to learn throughout her travels. Collaborating with artisans from Africa to Italy, Calleri sources from local markets, using up-cycled materials and woven fibres. Supporting and preserving local craftsmanship is important to Calleri, as these traditional practices and knowledge are disappearing. Choosing “.club” as her domain was intentional, as The Palmist is a collaboration with craftspeople and talented artists around the world. In Watamu, Kenya, she collaborates with an artist named Paul, who is responsible for the Club Lumière lampshades and Palmita rugs, made of hand-woven palm fibre. In Grottaglie, Italy, Calleri collaborates with Enza Fasano on ceramics, entirely produced by hand. “Enza’s daughter, Giovanna taught me how to paint on raw terracotta and together we created a capsule collection,” says Calleri, further stressing the importance of collaboration and preservation of traditional craftsmanship.
Courtesy of Hotel Weekend
Hotel Weekend, the brainchild of Natalia Swarz, is an online travel destination for the modern and conscious traveler. Along with carefully curated travel guides, the site hosts a Souvenir Shop, featuring a beautiful selection of hand-picked items to pack in your suitcase, along with artisanal souvenirs Swarz has picked up along her own travels. The souvenirs are a reflection of her own beautiful taste and the various artisans she’s come to know, from ceramics from Puglia, to woven bags from Colombia, filling your digital shopping cart will make you feel like you’ve traveled the world.