Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic, and environmentsl justice around the world.

From East Coast to West, Swing into a Fair Trade Summer!

18th July, 2012 - Posted by Alex Cole-Weiss - 2 Comments

Whether you can’t wait to have that summer get-together with family, friends, and neighbors, or you just feel like you want a little mid-summer break and throw yourself a “me-time” tea time, the Global Exchange Fair Trade stores have just the thing to help you set the stage.

Time for a garden party at Global Exchange!

Out West in San Francisco and Berkeley, we’re celebrating the bounty of summer with our beautiful handmade aprons and hot mitts from Guatemala–garden parties and barbeques can be Fair Trade events too!

The colorful handwoven aprons and hot mitts come from MayaWorks, a fair trade nonprofit organization that promotes economic development for Mayan women and their families by supporting a marketplace for their handcrafted goods. MayaWorks believes that community development happens through the economic development of women who otherwise have limited ways to participate and contribute to the economic health of their communities.

MayaWorks partners with over 125 artisans in 6 communities along the central highlands of Guatemala. All artisans are paid a fair wage for their work. Additionally they are supported through microloans to start their own businesses, literacy and skills trainings, and scholarships to send their daughters to school.

Maya Works Artisans. Photo copyright by Global Exchange.

Global Exchange has partnered with Maya Works to bring you their fine Fair Trade weaving in the form of aprons, potholders, pouches and more.  All products are 100% cotton, color safe and made to last.

Back East, the Global Exchange Fair Trade stores in the DC-area are currently featuring beautiful hand-made applique pillows – the perfect accent for your favorite summer reading chair or that new patio set you can’t wait to show off!

Photo Credit: Natural Habitat

 

These colorful pillows are hand-stitched by artisans in the Gujarat region of western India who are famous for their craftsmanship and have passed down their techniques for generations.  The pillow covers are a great example of the combination of a rich cultural heritage and an eye for contemporary designs. The embroidery and appliqué is done by women, often in their homes  (not in sweatshops), based in and around Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This area lacks regular employment, and the migration of men to urban centers for work makes it difficult for the women who are left behind to support their families. The work provides a livelihood and additional income to the families as well as helps keep these ancient crafts alive.

Relax into summer with embroidered pillows from Global Exchange. Photo Credit: Global Exchange.

The art of hand embroidery for decorating fabric began thousands of years ago when women sewed together patches of material to make both attractive and functional items such as quilts and other textiles that archaeologists have found were traded along ancient routes around the world!  Today, it is an expressive art form for the rural or pastoral women in Gujarat. Each coverlet is an impression of creativity and love for creating an eye-catching work of art.  For you, they offer an alternative to a glut of machine-made, mass-produced goods, providing a connection to a sense of individual identity and the personal touch of the artisan making more than just an object of utility but sharing a piece of a heritage art form – that is what makes these pillows unique!

So come by one of the Global Exchange Fair Trade stores to get into the swing of summer! Have a great way to celebrate social justice this summer? Let us know in the comments!

2 Responses to “From East Coast to West, Swing into a Fair Trade Summer!”

  • Great article and pictures of fair trade products. Promoting and expanding the fair trade market is so essential in bringing beautiful and unique goods to the US while supporting and helping so many artisans.

    • Hi John,
      Glad you enjoyed Alex’s article, and yes promoting and expanding results in beautiful things! You might like to check out these photos that were recently posted on our Facebook page…they’re of some of the Guatemalan weavers we work with, taken during a recent trip by our Fair Trade stores director Jocelyn. http://ow.ly/eaf2P Thanks for your comment!

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