Spotlight On: African Artisan Collectives

Beauty Supporting Economic Independence
Jul 16, 2010 6:00 PM ET

ElegRoo Blog

All the rich cultures, colors and textures of the African continent are expressed so beautifully in the artworks utilizing traditional techniques. Elegant Roots is proud to work with fair-trade collectives across Africa to help bring some of their stunning creations to North America. How lucky we are to support these talented people and keep them at work, doing what they love and participating in their progress toward economic independence.

CREATIVE WOMEN — Founded by one-woman dynamo Ellen Dorsch, Creative  Women brings us the exquisite textile craftsmanship of Ethiopia and  Swaziland. A company that provides work training and excellent pay to  talented women, Creative Women is known for its luxurious mohair and vibrant silk items through its luxury Sabahar line. By pairing fashion-forward Western designs with  traditional African craftsmanship, Creative Women merges cultures beautifully.

DWELLING — Connecticut product development consultant Gloria Delaney was traveling in Kenya where she discovered artisans creating remarkable handcrafted items, such as gorgeous bowls carved from a single piece of sustainably harvested olivewood. She also tapped into a women’s knitting collective to bring huggable handmade plush toys to children in the U.S. Gloria has gone far beyond just providing economic opportunities to artists — she and Dwelling strongly support literacy, health and other programs for the well-being of the workers and their families.

TRIBAL HOME — This U.S.-based company brings us the work of amazing Zulu Master Weavers from South Africa. Tribal Home’s three founding  partners discovered these women in the remote KwaZulu-Natal Province, skilled in the traditional art of weaving watertight Zulu baskets but unable to make a living from it. Tribal Home introduced the baskets to  the Western market — where they’ve been selling so successfully that the weavers can now support their families and keep these traditional Zulu crafts alive.

These are just a sampling of the products from African collectives that you will find at Elegant Roots. Spreadthe word, spread the joy.