Bangladesh Artisans

Images that helped inspire the summer collection from Ten Thousand Villages Canada.

Fibre into fabric. People into relationships.

The crossing of threads becomes a crossing of paths,

Forever intertwined, connected to community.

A year ago, when Purchasing Director Kristen Fromm was beginning to build the 2017 summer collection, there was not yet a clear direction for the release. The lines and few images above, from the team that builds collections in the US, was the only starting point. This is unusual – most collections stem from a comprehensive mood board, complete with Pantone colour swatches and detailed explanations of colour and material trends. The June release was essentially built on a feeling – but that’s all Kristen needed.

“What stood out to me from the few images we had were all the bright colours,” says Kristen. Continuing, she remarked how the colours felt cheerful, not heavy – which meant steering away from many of the rich, deeper tones that, in the past, have been Ten Thousand Villages hallmarks.

Soon, Kristen had found some of her cornerstone pieces. When the cut metal cottages from Haiti arrived, she knew she was on to something. “The cut metal wall hangings just feel summery”, Kristen says. Each is painted in an array of lively, bold colours. She also loved the story behind the pieces, which uses a traditional artisan process unique to Haiti. These pieces, along with many of the home décor items in the collection, are statement pieces. Alone, they can make a room feel more tropical – but they can also help guide further design choices by establishing a mood and colour palette.

When the Recycled Sari Circle chairs arrived, Kristen knew she had another keystone piece for the summer collection. “It just pulls in so many of the collection’s colours,” explains Kristen, “and it really helps the other pieces jell together.

The chair is emblematic of the evolution of our stores, too. It’s made from a popular Ten Thousand Villages material, recycled sari, but it’s used in a way we’ve never seen before. It’s also a testament to the ever-improving skills of the makers we partner with. Three makers are employed in the production of a chair, and it takes 26 hours to produce each one.

Another foundational piece was the blue glassware from Bolivia. “We needed the blue glass collection to ground the craziness,” laughs Kristen. “A solid blue presence helps all the other colours make sense.” It’s true – set against bright placemats and rainbow coloured napkins for an afternoon fiesta, the blue glasses draw your gaze and compliment the whole set.

The blue tumblers are made from recycled glass, collected from the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The gathered bottles are heated to a temperature of 1000˚C before being given a new life by a master glass blower.

These cornerstone pieces helped the rest of the collection take shape. “It’s fun, really,” says Kristen. “That’s the short answer. We wanted this collection to evoke that summer feeling.” Browse the rest of the collection online, or visit one of our locations across the country.

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