Aid to Artisans: A Different Take on Fair Trade

Fair trade takes a hard look into the economics and ethics of products, but what about the actual artistry? The organization Aid to Artisans (ATA) is an international non-profit organization that helps facilitate just that. Older than many Fair Trade organizations ATA was founded in 1976, and has helped facilitate the growth of artisan communities in over 110 countries. Perhaps more impressive are the 30,000 artisans they support annually to not only teach them new skills, but also to help create a marketplace for their unique talents. So what have the artists around the World created through the support of this program?

Here are some of our top Aid To Artisan picks:

Fireplace Screen - $300 This screen is handmade just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti where iron workers are highly revered. The steel is hand cut and hammered, yet it's sweet design gives it a soft appeal.

Hand-Embroidered Pillow - $68 This bright and cheerful cotton pillow is made in India. Embroidered by the nomadic Lambani women of southern India's Karnataka state, it is a simple yet fun design with little mirrors.

Mexican Pot - $325 This pot was handmade in Mexico, and then carefully painted with a traditional design. It is simple, yet elegant.

Seaweed Bowl - $150 This bowl comes from the same place as the Fireplace Screen above, just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in Croix de Bouquet. Made from steel, it is carefully cut to resemble the sea and comes in a variety of colors.

Vetiver Bowl Set - $92 This bowl set is hand-woven on the Island of Nevis. Created by Master Artisans, these bowls are carefully constructed. They come in sets of 4.

Aid to Artisans is an interesting take on Fair Trade that focuses on preserving, supporting, and helping grow the arts. ATAs larger goal of creating self-sustaining artisan communities worldwide has helped leverage communities from poverty to independence through the volunteer hours and hard work of many around the World. Check out their online shop here to see what they have been up to all these years!

(Images: Aid to Artisans)