Artisan Stories: Recycled Metalworkers, India

Recycled Metalworkers, India

Our picture frames, terrariums and lanterns are hand-crafted by a fair trade workshop in Northern India. The project employs mostly men who are trained in traditional metalworking skills such as cutting, welding, soldering and latch-making.

Uttar Pradesh means 'Northern Province' in Hindi. It's the most populous state in India and is home to some of the countries most famous historial sights, including the Taj Mahal. Agriculture remains the main source of employment, but recently the area has attracted foreign investment in software and electronics.

Recycled Metal and Glass

India is a place where very little goes to waste and using recycled metal and glass to make our picture frames and terrariums helps preserve precious resources. The metals we use are zinc, copper and brass.

How is it made?

First, the recycled metal is cut into strips and shaped around the contours of the glass panels, before the joins are skillfully welded by hand. Faiz is the workshop's latch-making specialist and he's in charge of making the hanging loops and catches from wire. Finally, the picture frames are completed with a recycled cotton ribbon.

How your purchase improves lives

This product is made in a workshop that adheres to fair trade principals, meaning employees are guaranteed fair wages, job security and safe working conditions. There is also the option of flexible working hours, which allows employees to fit their work around their studies and family commitments if they wish.

"I start at 2pm and work a few hours a day to support myself while I study to be a lawyer. My brother is always having fake court cases with me!" Abdul

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Image credits: Nkuku