I would love to get more behind-scenes peeks from designers. Show us a glimpse of process. Show us what inspires the designs. That’s why I was thrilled to see Good Earth share inspiration on its Facebook.
Good Earth designs its product collections around themes, and an upcoming theme is “Samarqand” inspired by the crossroads of the famed Silk Route. I have a little bit of an obsession with the Silk Road (I should write and share more about that) so this inspiration was interesting to me. Which area of the Silk Road are they looking at? You can see in their moodboard below, some Suzani, a snippet of ikat, Uzbekistan, Islamic script, old papers, various pinks and blues.
They share a few steps of the block print creation process:
And indeed the elements I picked out in the moodboard above show up in the collection, as shared by ELLE India: “The new collection features home accessories and fabrics in madder rose and azure hues – we particularly loved their metal lanterns and bright ikats made by artisans in Uzbekistan. “
From Good Earth’s Instagram (yes I am a social media stalker), here is an artist at work on Samarqand works – looks like painting on a mirror. Can you see elements of inspiration from the moodboard?
Here is a sneak peak at lanterns from the new collection:
Here is a store scene – note the pillows! You can definitely see how the inspiration in the moodboard carried through to the products. Prominent pinks and blues, and the patterns.
You can visit Good Earth stores in India or you can shop Good Earth online – yes you can even find their lanterns online.
It used to be, to meet folk artists from 60 countries and buy their wares at the biggest folk art market in the world, you had to go to Santa Fe for a few days in July. No complaints about that! I almost went this year. Through Airbnb, I had found a little casita with its own traditional blue entry door on Canyon Road, much more affordable than a hotel. But life got busy and I did not go. I wanted to go because the folk art market looks like the most joyous and creative collection of things made by people to share their cultures. I had wanted to meet the people.
Selling at the market is a way to bring economic benefits back to entire communities. The sales help villages build schools for children and shelters for women, and they sustain families. People can earn more in a weekend in Santa Fe than they can earn all year in their countries. To come to Santa Fe, some artists take their first trip ever on an airplane, or their first trip outside their country. I am definitely penciling in July 2015’s folk art market on my calendar!
But meanwhile, now you can shop online with the International Folk Art Market. As I wear a lot of black, I noticed this Warli scarf made in India. The design is inspired by centuries-old Warli murals in Gujarat:
Drums like this Djembe drum from Nigeria are working drums, but also decorative and can be useful functional little side tables next to chairs or sofas. Years ago, back in 2011, I posted about a South Indian drum we use in our living room as a little table between two chairs. You can do the same with this:
Are these not the most unique earrings! They’re made of silver and carved gourd. Now I’ve seen a lot of gourd crafts over the years, but nothing like this. They’re made in Peru and they combine Inca, Colonial, Modern and Baroque styles and jewelry techniques:
These cuff bracelets are made from recycled PVC. They are handmade by the Ovahimba people from the Kunene region of Namibia. They cut the PCV piping into the shape of the bracelet, etch the design into the plastic, and add a patina or natural dye to color the bracelets.
This is just a sampling of what’s available at the International Folk Art Market’s online shop, and I’m sure it will grow over time as the Santa Fe market has.
I’m swamped under stuff. It’s time to get rid of some stuff. So I’ve been selling things from my old sewing hobby on eBay. Which means I’ve been seeing the tempting feed there of things from around the world … beckoning me … buy me, they say … Ohhhhh, temptation to spend is everywhere, isn’t it. Must stay disciplined. I’d rather build up my PayPal balance for something substantial than whittle it away so quickly.
I suppose you could ask, then, why would I be a temptress and encourage other people to look at these things? Well there is no harm in looking, right? But as we all know, it’s so easy to bid or hit the Buy it Now button! But here are some things you really should see …
This is an old Indian window. The seller purchased it for $450 from Arhaus last year (did you know Arhaus sells one-of-a-kind antique “relics” as well as new furniture?) and is asking $200 on eBay. The wooden window panels open and move:
I’ve in the past collected the “Bird’s Eye View” maps of Allain Mallet, who traveled the world in the 1600s and drew what he saw. His maps were published into books which are nowadays separated and sold as individual pages whenever collectors get ahold of a book. I own a map of what he saw in Agra way back then! And also maps from China, Indonesia and Thailand. They were all found on eBay years ago. I should photograph those and share them! Speaking of sharing, I want to be greedy and not share this eBay listing. :) But, it’s such a cool image, you really should see. It’s his view of Mozambique, Port of Sofala in the 1600s:
Tip: If you buy antique drawings and maps like this, do spend to get them framed properly so they’re well-protected. They can hold their value or increase in value. They’ve already lasted hundreds of years and I think of myself as just their current caretaker during their lifetimes. I do plenty of cheap DIY framing, but not for these antique papers.
I wouldn’t recommend you chew betel nuts unless you want black teeth. But objects like this antique bronze betel nut cutter from India are really cool. Maybe it’s my penchant for wanderlust that makes me find this much more interesting than the nutcrackers you find in American stores! Even though it basically does the same job. This could be displayed in a deep frame like a shadowbox, maybe against a subtle patterned textile backdrop:
They estimate it’s from the 18th-19th century.
Does your purse ever get heavy with coins and you have to dump them out? Imagine walking around with currency like this:
It’s old Abelam “Yua” currency from New Guinea. It’s made from shell. You will often find collections of tribal currencies displayed on custom iron stands that are made to cradle their round shape. You can put them on a shelf or mantel.
You can also make necklaces from shells, as Naga tribes did. Nagaland is in northeast India and you will also find Naga tribes in Myanmar. I have an obsession with Nagaland objects and just want them all! I like their strong graphics and boldness. They tend to be red, black, beige and yellow and I love those strong color combos. Here’s a Naga necklace on eBay:
There’s so much that’s catching my eye on eBay and elsewhere, that I’ll make this a regular feature. Of course I’m afflicted with a bad case of wanderlust pretty much 24/7 so it never feels satisfying enough to me to buy something unless I’m there in India, New Guinea, Nagaland or Mozambique myself!
As a second best option — and much more affordable and realistic — when I do buy online, I at least want to hear a bit about the item and it’s history and purpose, and about the people who created it. So I appreciate when sellers share that info, or if they originally purchased the item themselves and have a travel story to share about the purchase.
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I’m on Etsy a bit more now that I put the smallest ever inventory in a shop – just two items but more tote bags and mini cross-body bags (super cute) are coming! Just first, need to find the right leather straps at the right quality level for the right price.
Meanwhile here’s some Etsy shops to get a dose of global style …
Chanee Vijay Textiles sells hand-printed block print items including bold graphic pillows, many in strong metallic colors:
See her design process here – where a fun video shows how she draws designs, she cuts wooden blocks, she mixes inks, she prints on fabric, she sews … she does everything! And it’s all environmentally-friendly too.
I’m going to Morocco this fall and traded in 80K United miles (yeah sometimes I fly a lot) for a free flight. So then you get weird itineraries. One option was routed through Dakar, Senegal. Which got me curious, what’s in Senegal? Well, baskets like these from Etsy shop African Baskets are from Senegal:
Hilarys Bazaar is like wandering the lanes of a Middle Eastern souk where people have tread for thousands of years, maybe even trading similar things all this time. And then the souk comes to you, through your computer:
I drool over the Thai and Hmong hill tribe textiles at DellShop. I brought back bags of textiles when we traveled to Thailand years ago. There’s something about the complexity of the weaves and designs. You can purchase lengths of textiles and sew pillows with them, or hang them as-is.
Luxethnik has a collection of high-quality global wares, and I think I “favorite” everything in this shop! What a great eye and attention to detail. And she’s in Santa Fe which is one of my very favorite towns on the planet – there’s such rich global inspiration there.
Isn’t everything so lusciously photographed? If only I could move into an online shop …
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