Bangladesh Artisans

Lombok Pottery 1Turning greyish indigenous clay into rich red-brown and black pottery is no easy task. Yet the 214 women potters, who make up Lombok Pottery Center’s collection of four cooperatives, are experts at creating beautiful and useful objects from the ground up.

Ten Thousand Villages is now pleased to carry several pieces of their versatile pottery, handcrafted using traditional methods and designed with contemporary North American tastes in mind.

SelfHelp Photo’Tis the season for milestones at Ten Thousand Villages!

At this time of year, we celebrate our anniversary as an organization. This year, we’re marking 68 years since Edna Ruth Byler started selling the needlework she brought back from Puerto Rico.

And while the motivation behind our efforts has remained constant over these 68 years, much has changed. For example, in the early years, we were a grassroots movement run entirely by volunteers. Today, while volunteerism remains a big part of who we are, we’re now a world-class retailer with more than 120 stores scattered across North America.

1 fair trade ingredientsAs a Ten Thousand Villages store manager in Saskatoon, I have had the opportunity to share the story of Ten Thousand Villages with many people, either one-on-one in the store or to larger groups. For those of you who know the interesting story, you’ll know that Ten Thousand Villages was started in 1946 by a woman named Edna Ruth Byler.

Edna was also Mennonite Central Committee’s Akron, Pennsylvania hostess for a number of years. And from what I understand, she was an amazing baker. While there, she would make buns and doughnuts. Her recipe can be found in the More-with-Less Cookbook. The cookbook says she even offered classes on how to make this recipe!

I love to bake and to use fair trade ingredients in my baking. I also love to share my baking with others – which is good, because this recipe is huge. It will make 100 doughnuts/buns! I often make a half recipe so I can use my stand mixer to do some of the work.

This recipe is also very versatile. You can make cinnamon/sticky rolls (my favourite), doughnuts, dinner rolls or coffee cake. It also freezes well. I’ve given you my three favourite options below, and the others are listed in the cookbook. Enjoy!

WFTO Video ScreenshotThe other day, I received an email from the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), which included a message from Rudi Dalvai, WFTO’s president. The following words stood out for me:

“While many things have changed since we started our journey, our goals have always remained the same: to network between organizations which have Fair Trade at their heart and which embrace the trade values that make us different.”

Ten Thousand Villages truly sees itself as “different.” We represent an alternative to mainstream buying options, with an uncompromising focus on ethics that’s embedded in everything we do.

blog-top-imageFor more than 20 years, Pantone has surveyed New York Fashion Week and previewed the most important colour trends for the coming season. For Fall 2014, Pantone selected 10 colours that “Transcend Time and Place.”

Interestingly, the selections of colours are probably not the typical colours you are used to seeing for this time of year. The Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute explains: “This is a season of untypical colors — more reflective of the imagination and ingenuity, which makes for an artful collection of colors and combinations not bound by the usual hues for fall.”

I decided it would be fun to create a few looks based on this colour palette with some of my favourite accessories here at Ten Thousand Villages.