Bangladesh Artisans

Waterloo StoreWhen my best friend and I were in high school, we used to go to Ten Thousand Villages in Uptown Waterloo and say, “When we’re grown-ups with our own homes, we’re going to fill them with stuff from Ten Thousand Villages!”

Now that I am a “grown-up,” one of my favourite tasks has been making thoughtful choices about what things I bring into my home. (And it just so happens that many of those things are indeed from Ten Thousand Villages!)

My philosophy for my home is borrowed from the William Morris quote: “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” In fact, I have the quote hanging on the wall in my living room! For me, the principles behind fair trade items perfectly encompass both useful and beautiful items.

  • Useful:  As you’ll see below, there are lots of ways products from Ten Thousand Villages can be incorporated into your home and your life. So many practical items!
  • Beautiful:  North Americans get to enjoy our artisan partners’ handiwork – the cultural art and intricate details created by the talented people behind the products.
  • And more!  To top it all off, artisans and producers have meaningful work, can send their children to school, and are able to invest in growing their communities.

Today, I’d like to share a few of the practical ways I have brought fair trade into my home:

Dice Box On a decorative shelf in our living room, we display our books between beautiful kisii stone bookends. You can also see one of my husband’s favourites – the Shesham Wood Dice Box.
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Rustic Wrap Basket This Rustic Wrap Basket made of hogla leaf, is environmentally sustainable AND is perfect for storing odds and ends in our living room.
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Recycled Sari Throw One of my personal favourites, the Recycled Sari Throw, makes a great blanket for chilly Canadian winters, but also adds beautiful colours and texture to the room throughout the whole year.
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Happy Sunflower Vase We recently added a shelf to our dining room, and I excitedly filled it with various Villages items I’ve collected over the years. Here I have a candleholder, the Happy Sunflower Vase and a Recycled Aluminum Tray.
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Harvest Colours Basket On that same shelf, we’ve got more baskets! The Rustic Wrap Basket holds our tablecloths and napkins, while the Harvest Colours Basket currently houses our BBQ tools. Everything is tucked out of the way, but still looks great in our space!
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Turning Leaf Tray The Turning Leaf Tray is a great way to keep the kitchen sponge off the counter. And on the side you can see, our Stoneware Sugar & Creamer Set is perfect for when you have friends over for (fair trade!) coffee or tea.
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Midnight Owl Bookends The Midnight Owl bookends allow us to make extra use of this bookcase, and they’re a super unique addition to the room. I often have people ask me what they are made of and where they are from. (Conversation pieces are another wonderful reason I choose fair trade products for my home!)
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Planters I love having plants around. But since my cats make it impossible to keep plants inside in the winter months, I can’t wait for summer to get my Villages planters out on our porch and filled with greenery of all types.

I didn’t add all of these items at once. But over the years, whenever a practical need came up, I always try to think of a way I can add items that are both useful and beautiful to my life – and fair trade fits the bill every time!
I hope this provides a bit of inspiration to you about how you can choose to include fairly traded items in practical ways around your own home. Thanks for taking a peek into my little house!


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 Green Grove Pot  Garden Glory Tablecloth  Soapstone Mortar and Pestle


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