Whether you look forward to it all year or deeply dread it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. We are embracing the day here at Far & Wide with a selection of Valentine-inspired items and an appreciation for the artisans who made them. We invite you to spread love far and wide this year with unique, beautiful, and ethical handcrafted gifts.
1. Carline Pink Bangles, Jindal Crafts, India $15-$25
Nothing says Valentine’s Day like flowers, so we picked these amazing hand-painted and lacquered bangles, crafted from 100% recyclable Wrightia Tinctoria (a plant native to India).
Jindal Crafts is the organization behind these lovely baubles. Their mission is to grow the Indian economy through one of the country’s biggest assets: its rich culture and talented artisans.
Jindal Crafts Manager Manoj Aggarwal explains, “Artisans here generally belong to a lower social class and are at an economic disadvantage. Jindal Crafts provides them with work so they can maintain a reasonable life for themselves and support their families.”
2. Fuchsia Raw Silk Scarf, House of Wandering Silk, India $79
When it comes to gifts you can’t really go wrong with silk. This traditional scarf is a gorgeous, textured weave of pink and gold. It is made using leftover raw silk from the cocoons after the silk filament has been taken. This silk is usually thrown away, but in Assam, where these scarves are made, it is handspun and handwoven into scarves and Assamese traditional garments.
House of Wandering Silk is an organization set up by Katherine Neumann with the purpose to create a more sustainable way to support women in poor rural areas. House of Wandering Silk sources beautiful vintage fabrics and creates designs for its products and partners with a cooperative of 1,400 women from 40 rural villages of the Murshidabad district in West Bengal State. These women do the actual “kantha” or stitching work which can be done in the privacy of the home allowing women from conservative families to participate. This occupation supports rural and usually marginalized communities.
3. Pink Striped Basket (Large), Women of Ngambenyi and Bungule, Kenya $145
This hand-woven basket was created by a group of women from Ngambenyi and Bungule, two rural villages around Mount Kasigau in the southern part of Kenya. Kenya is renowned for its delicate hand-woven baskets, which still feature there in everyday life.
The baskets are made from natural sisal from which the women make string, dye it and finally weave it into stunning baskets. Apart from the income-generating aspect, basket-weaving groups have also become a place where women can socialize, discuss ideas and entrepreneurship.
We love these baskets for storing towels, children’s toys, and any clutter we are trying to hide!
Happy Valentine’s Day!