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Travels with Handcraft Nerds

Read the full story from HAND/EYE magazine 
Lost Spanish silk in the Sierra Madre. Smoke fired pottery. Cochineal, the red worn around the world. Frida Kahlo’s fashion inspirations. The last traditional shellfish dyers on earth. Sixteen native languages, 80 pottery villages, 100 indigenous dressways and 10,000 weavers.  Oh, and the tortilla was invented here as well 2,800 years ago.
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Zero Waste Fashion

Read the full story in HAND/EYE magazine.

tonlé has become a hit with ethical consumers worldwide

In fashion, even the slightest imperfection on a roll of fabric can mean it is rejected, discarded and sent to an overflowing landfill. Ends of rolls are also tossed if they hold limited yardage. One fashion designer had an idea of using fabric that didn’t make the cut and creating a zero-waste line out of it. 
Rachel Faller’s Tonle ( line is an ethical and sustainable collection made in Cambodia, a country she visited in college and where... read more

#Projecthrive Launched by Sonica Sarna Design

Read the full story on Sonica Sarna Design.

#Projecthrive is an initiative to empower women so that they have a voice and the right to make choices in their lives.

Our sewing centre for women is based amidst the slum clusters surrounding the industrial area in New Delhi and trains the women from these slums in sewing, cutting, quality control and packing.


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Launching of the Rabha Women Weavers' Association

With our seed funding, Rabha women weavers are getting training and support for design development and marketing.

The Rabha women are from Garo Basti in Rajabhathkhawa, and Mendabari and Andu forest villages in Chilapata forest division in Alipurduar district of West Bengal.

Our partner in India for this initiative is the Foundation for Rural Recovery and Development, (FORRAD), a support organization for smaller grass root groups, working nationwide in the field of rural development since 1980.  Sarmistha Lahiri, founder and secretary of Hast Karigar Society, is the project consultant hired by FORRAD to implement the project. 

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One Designer’s Crusade to Save Oaxacan Pottery From Extinction

A few years ago (Kythzia) Barrera started a non-profit company called Innovating Tradition, and a retail arm to go with it, called Colectivo 1050º. Barrera doesn’t consider herself a ceramicist; a more apt title might be ceramics conservationist, or preservationist. Innovating Tradition and Colectivo 1050º are her institutional efforts to get the “traditional culture” of ceramics out of the jungle, and into the hands of a global audience.

Read more from Wired Magazine.

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Support the J.B. Singh Girls' School in Bihar, India

With your help, 350 girls will be able to attend school learning to read and write in a region where only 53% of women are literate.

The J.B.Singh Girls’ School is located in Kaliyachak village in Hilsa block, Nalanda district. It was opened and run by a local community based organisation, Samaj Kalyan Mandal, in 1999 to cater to the needs of girls who found travelling out of their village to the nearest school 10 km away something that their families were reluctant to permit. 

Unfortunately a lack of funding forced the school to shut down in 2009 after... read more

Celebrating the Power of Artisan Enterprise to Change the World

Read the full remarks by the Secretary of State

According to research from the Inter-American Development Bank, if the creative economy, globally, were a country, it would already be equal to the fourth-largest economy in the world with the fourth-largest workforce and ranking ninth in the value of exports. That’s just the beginning. One advantage of the Information Age is the ability to be able to potentially increase markets for products that have traditionally been sold just locally, or out of a kiosk, or to tourists when they’re coming in. Not anymore. With... read more

Saving Rhinos: Turning Poo into Paper

Photo credit: Chirodeep Chaudhuri

Read the full story How to save rhinos? By turning their dung into paper. from PRI's The World.

Two thousand of the world’s 2,500 Asian one-horned rhinos live in this northeastern state of Assam, but the rhino population is dwindling rapidly because of poaching and sprawl. Mahesh Bora says the farmers who live on the edge of the rhino's forest habitat often see them only as a menace to crops, or a cash opportunity with poachers.

“No amount of telling them to save the rhino is actually going to work,”... read more

Getting Beyond Hype: Four Questions to Predict Real Impact

Read the full commentary "Getting Beyond Hype: Four Questions to Predict Real Impact" from Stanford Social Innovation Review

...we really do need to sort good ideas from bad, and it ought to happen before we stoke the fires of publicity. At Mulago, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out if start-ups with a new “thing”—a product, service, or technology—are likely to create real impact in the lives of the people we’re trying to serve. Over time, we’ve evolved a set of four questions that help us make better predictions. 

1. Is it needed?

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We Want to Know Exactly What You're Trying to Accomplish

Read the full commentary The Eight Word Mission Statement from Stanford Social Innovation Review.

As investors in impact, we—the Mulago Foundation—don’t want to wade through a bunch of verbiage about “empowerment,” “capacity-building,” and “sustainability”—we want to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. We want to cut to the chase, and the tool that works for us is the eight-word mission statement. All we want is this:

A verb, a target population, and an outcome that implies something to measure—and we want in eight words or less. 

....With a good eight-word mission, you can... read more

La Flor de Xochistlahuaca


Read the full article La Flor de Xochistlahuaca from HAND/EYE.

La Flor de Xochistlahuaca is a story of rescue and preservation, but also one of innovation with the goal to appeal to a broader market and consumer base.

Located in the municipality of Xochistlahuaca in southeastern Guerrero, Mexico. The cooperative was formed in 1969 but legally established on February 19, 2001. Its members, all women, make high-quality textiles, using traditional techniques and designs.

-- Ana Paula Fuentes

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Living Blue: Reflections on Indigo


Read the full commentary Living Blue: Reflections on Indigo from AdobeAirStream.


The combination of mokume and dheu on indigo is like deep blue streams running through your hands. This sensation is reinforced by the softness of textiles touched for weeks by the skilled hands of Bangladeshi artisans, most of whom are women. There is no machine-made stiffness here, but rather the warm presence of people and ancient methods.        ... read more

World of Play: Crafts and Heritage Art

Great to see Goraiya art kits from Avani highlighted in the article and available on   Read the full article Initiating Children Into Handmade Crafts and Heritage Art from HAND/EYE.

 As the world of play for children continues to be infused with technology-driven stimuli, it has become imperative to introduce them to other unique and engaging forms of play and storytelling. With the repertoire of wonderful traditional and folk art forms of their country at our disposal, there is a wide... read more

Falling Somewhere on the Spectrum of Meaning

 Read the full commentary Why Meaning Beats Marketing from Unreasonable Institute

Every product lies somewhere on a spectrum of meaning. Those at the high end of the meaning spectrum truly transform customers’ lives. Those at the low end of the meaning spectrum make small, forgettable differences. The companies at the low end of this spectrum have few options than to try to outspend via marketing channels....

So instead of pouring your marketing budget into advertising or sales channels, try to find the person or group whose lives you significantly change.

-- Tom... read more

A Rallying Cry for a New Story of the Economy

Read the full commentary The Economy at the Edge from Unreasonable Institute

Building a disruptive economy by bringing the voices in from the edges to the center is very powerful. We celebrate a real economy, an economy in service to life. We seek the creatives, the disruptive, the entrepreneurs, the heretics, the dispossessed—all the people who have been told to shut up. These people from the margins now hold the greatest promise for saving our asses—in the artistic, creative, and entrepreneurial edges that are where the magic is. They will become the... read more