Artisan Partners

“My life has changed so much. I've forgotten all my past and I am proud that I am doing a respectable job. My daughter will have a good education and she won’t have to go through what I have been through” – Jahanara, quilter

Basha is a social enterprise that helps victims of sex trafficking in Bangladesh leave the streets and build a new life making kantha quilts from recycled saris. Training and counselling are provided and children attend the on-site nursery school while their mothers work. As beautiful products emerge from discarded cloth, broken lives are made whole again, stitch by stitch.

 

“Before, life was very distressing. I had hardly any work and had to depend on others to live. Now I have a community at Living Blue, I have paid off my debts, built a house and my children go to school” – Sona Rani Roy, master quilter

Living Blue is an inspirational co-operative of 182 artisans in a remote area of Northern Bangladesh. They create beautiful throws and cushions using complex Japanese tying techniques and intense indigo dye. Indigo is not just a colour: it’s a plant that creates hope, independence and a bright future.

Our colourful braided baskets are produced in small workshops near Dhaka in Bangladesh. They are made from jute yarns which are finely spun, dyed into a rainbow of colours and plaited together by hand. Our braided utility baskets are incredibly strong, making them perfect for all sorts of tasks, from tidying toys or spare towels to holding logs by the fire.

 

Maison Bengal is our link with five inspirational NGOs and artisan co-operatives in Bangladesh. Their versatile basket bags are made from natural jute fibres, woven in intricate geometric patterns. They particularly work in remote communities to provide a sustainable income for women and marginalised groups.

 

Nkuku works with fair trade initiatives, co-operatives and family businesses in India, Africa and Vietnam to create contemporary home accessories and help talented artisans overcome challenging living standards and limited opportunities. All their suppliers meet or exceeded fair trade guidelines and provide safe, pleasant and sustainable working environments.

“Before, I did odd jobs in the village and did not know my income from one day to the next. The pottery gave me training and now I have worked here for seven years. My children go to school and college which makes me happy.” – Jyothi, potter

Our short coffee cups are made at a fair trade pottery in South East India that employs 13 women and 12 men. All the employees earn a reliable monthly income as well as receiving gifts and bonuses for Diwali and other seasonal festivals. The pottery has transformed the community and the founder has even opened a school for local children.

Bohemia Design works with artisans in Morocco to create colourful homewares and accessories. Their signature style blends a fresh design aesthetic with traditional skills such as weaving and leatherwork, all produced to fair trade standards. Our handpicked range includes striped pom-pom blankets and Moroccan babouche slippers for women and men, all with a fun and uplifting vibe.

 

House of Rym is built on a love affair between contemporary design and ancient handicraft, pairing Swedish designers with traditional weaving groups in Tunisia. Our Heavenly Honeycomb throws are ethically woven on jacquard looms to create beautiful, complex designs. They are inspired by woven hammam towels called ‘foutas’ which have been used since the Ottoman Empire.

 

“I am a widow with two children and I also care for five orphans: three of my sister-in-law’s children and two of my grandchildren, as my daughter recently died from heart disease. Thank you so much for buying my baskets so I can help my family – it is very important to me!” – Alice Wali, basket weaver

Hadithi works with 15 basket weaving co-operatives, supporting 450 women in Kenya. Life is hard in the region: unpredictable droughts and conflicts between wildlife rangers and poachers are common. The women use weaving skills passed down from mother to daughter to create intricate handmade baskets from sisal, a plentiful natural fibre.

Dassie works with artisans living and working in deprived areas of South Africa to create eco-friendly home accessories with a feel-good factor. Artisans benefit from fair trade wages, safe workshops and business development opportunities. Dassie’s designs make creative use of reclaimed materials, such as our rustic painted photo frames, breathing new life into discarded wood.

Intricately-painted papier-mâché is a traditional art in the hilltop villages of Kashmir. Each year, the artists gather to select a design before returning to their homes to produce stunning hand-painted baubles. Working as a co-operative empowers the artists, helps their businesses grow and ensures the future of their craft for generations to come.

“At 59 years old I have learnt to make jewellery - I never thought that I would do this! Now I can help the economy of my household and I feel important. I never had the opportunity to work before.” – Naty, jeweller

Just Trade is our connection to six inspirational fair trade jewellery projects in Peru, Ecuador and India. Each design is the result of a collaborative process in which the artisans are encouraged to contribute their own ideas and use their new-found skills to create a contemporary range of fair trade necklaces, bangles and earrings for Decorator’s Notebook.

We are proud to showcase independent British designers and craftspeople in this collection. Supporting traditional skills and a sensitive use of natural materials is at the heart of the Decorator’s Notebook ethos, whether our producers work near or far. Explore this quality range and encourage emerging talent and the very best of British design.