It’s time to changeover to Fall décor and we have some decorating ideas from Ten Thousand Villages to spruce up your home for the new season. One of the world’s largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Ten Thousand Villages strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries.
Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, sculpture and art, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.
You can find Ten Thousand Villages shops in New Haven, South Windsor, West Hartford, Fairfield, and Litchfield in Connecticut. You can also shop online at www.tenthousandvillages.com
Autumn Leaf Plate ($49; Handmade in India) // Looking for a centerpiece that will make a statement? This handcrafted leaf is harvest set in iron. From the skilled makers at Noah’s Ark.
Earthy Treasure Basket ($8; Handmade in Bangladesh) // A small basket in all the comforting shades of autumn’s earthy treasures, perfect for a festive centerpiece display or a practical place for storing small treasures. Kaisa is a sturdy wild grass that dries from its natural light green to a pale, almost tan color. Artisans cut kaisa grass from riverbanks during the monsoon season, leaving the roots for the next year’s crop. The cut kaisa grass is sundried and cleaned, dyed, then woven.
Oak Leaf Bowl ($59; Handmade in India) // Hold the glow of autumn leaves in this bowl; fall foliage is forged in iron and finished in luminescent copper. Artisans who made this bowl once worked in commercial construction and now use their metal and welding skills to create beautiful art pieces.
Bike Chain Wine Rack ($49; Handmade in India) // In Moradabad, India, artisans transform ordinary bike chains into extraordinary pieces of art. The Noah’s Ark group works with more than 40 independently operating workshops and provides resources such as free education for children and water filtration services for artisans’ homes. Metalworking is a traditional skill of the village, having begun in the 16th century and developed over time to include such innovative metals as recycled pieces of bicycles.
Nature’s Wild Photo Frame (SM) ($24; Handmade in India) // The rugged texture of animal horn accents this mango wood frame with a hint of wilderness. The “combed” texture is achieved through a process of introducing heat to the material, creating a striated effect. One of the makers, Mohammed Rashid, shared that he had previously worked for a large-scale company that did not pay him a fair wage. Since joining Asha Handicrafts, he is able to pay for his basic needs and save for the future.
The Nomad’s Cutting Board ($49; Handmade in Cameroon) // Several shades of natural wood stripe across this cutting board that seems to embody rustic sophistication. Njinuwo Richard is one of the makers responsible for this product. He loves to see the different colors of wood emerge as the product is completed. When we asked about his goals for the future, he shared that he hopes to someday to run a workshop of his own.
Salt Crystal Plate ($20 ; Handmade in Pakistan) // Serving sweet or savory snacks on a salt crystal slab is not only a beautiful display, it is also delicious! Figs, tomatoes, cured meats, fancy cheeses, and even strawberries are all amazing when served on a salt slab. Explore the technique of “salt-curing,” by cutting your desired fruit or veggie into slices, placing them between two salt blocks and letting them warm up in the sun. This process releases all the natural juices of your chosen fruit and adds just a kiss of salt.
Square Meal Napkin Holder ($12; Handmade in Philippines) // Perfect for the environmentally conscious consumer, this napkin holder is created using recycled materials by the Highland Women’s Multipurpose Cooperative in Baguio City, Philippines. An innovative process turns old newspapers into new products by wrapping the paper into coils and forming them into spiraled square building blocks. These blocks are joined with thread and/or glue and starched.
Lucky Pig Shakers ($24; Handmade in Chile) // Little three-legged pig salt and pepper shakers are made with clay dug from the mountainside near the village of Pomaire, Chile. This clay is traditionally used to create earthenware cookware used over an open fire, but in this instance it is transformed into a “chanchito” a little three-legged pig. These are given to friends as tokens of love and good fortune.
Nomad’s Ikat Napkin ($6; Handmade in India) // Ikat is a weaving style that uses a resist-dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern. Ikat means “to tie” or “to bind” in the Indonesian language. Ikats have been woven in cultures all over the world. In Central and South America, ikat is still common. India, Japan and several Southeast Asian countries have cultures with long histories of ikat production.