Bangladesh Artisans

New Items Summer 2013 WebWhat does it mean to imagine a better world, and to also strive for it? This is one of those questions that built Ten Thousand Villages.

It might sound odd – but in an ideal world, the concept of “fair trade” as a distinct niche would one day become obsolete. We hope for a day when all commerce is fairly traded, and the business community regards all people involved in global supply chains as equal parties. But there is so much more to our picture of a better world.

Ten Thousand Villages encourages artisans to use sustainable methods of production when creating their handmade products and many of our products are eco-conscious. We imagine a world in which sustainability would be common practice in manufacturing and production.

An example of this is shesham wood from India. Many of our wooden products are made from shesham, a type of rosewood. Shesham grows quickly and is therefore an ideal craft material. Its harvest is highly regulated, and much of the wood artisans use comes from construction sites that need to dispose of the trees for city growth. It’s a beautiful wood; naturally a deep colour with lots of movement to the grain, and our skilled artisans use it to create some of our most popular products. Some hand power-tools are used in production, but nothing is factory assembled, and many items are crafted in the same manner they have been for centuries. These methods encourage sustainable craftsmanship and sustainable business. These methods also result in each product being perfectly unique – held and shaped by a skilled artisan.

The creativity of our artisans is incredible. Many Ten Thousand Villages products are made of reused and recycled materials, things that in North America we would throw away without a thought. As a cyclist, discovering picture frames made from old bicycle chain, and candleholders crafted from old gears and sprockets, filled me with delight. Newspapers, magazines and old posters make popular coiled paper items such as bowls, coasters and Christmas decorations. Pop cans make funky earrings, and plastic bags are used for jewellery. (Just to name a few!)

Our world needs sustainable choices and eco-conscious actions by businesses and people alike. Choosing to purchase items at Ten Thousand Villages encourages our sustainable choices, and helps us realize the better world we imagine.


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Shesham Woodturned Vase Re-Cycle Tea Light


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