Browsing Tag

Artisans

Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Sowing
Seeds of Good with Clarissa the
Curious Cat Planter

September 14, 2017

Khalil Ahmed, right, and a fellow metalworker crafting kitties just outside of Moradabad.

Moradabad, India, is a big city. Situated on the banks of the Ramganga River, it boasts a population of nearly 900,000 and an active handicrafts industry that accounts for a significant portion of the country’s artisan exports. Though it’s best known for its brass wares, local workers craft a wide variety of goods for international distribution, from handmade paper notebooks to mosaic vases made from discarded glass. And in the atelier of Khalil Ahmed, an ironworker stationed a mere 12 kilometers from Moradabad proper, Clarissa the Curious Cat Planter comes to life.

When you first lay eyes on Clarissa, you’re probably struck by the cuteness of her little iron nose, or the artful curve of her accompanying tail. What you likely don’t realize is that Clarissa’s cuddly (if metallic) exterior does a whole lot of good beyond the obvious act of putting a smile on your face. Her creator, Khalil, is part of a growing group of local artisans that benefit from the support of an organization known as Noah’s Ark, an international export house that’s been serving the area for nearly 30 years under the watchful eye of Moradabad native Samuel Masih.

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Handmade in Kyrgyzstan–Traditional Craft, Nontraditional Dynamic

August 28, 2015

Capture

Welcome to Kyrgyzstan

As a certified B Corporation, UncommonGoods is excited about sustainability. That means more to us than just being “green” – we strive to offer products that reflect the environmental and social best-interests of everyone. So, when our makers are as concerned with sustainability as we are, we’re always excited to learn more about their process and the positive impact they’re having on the world.

While many of our makers rely on sustainable practices at one point or another in their process, we’re especially excited about those who place the wider world at the forefront of their craft – those who are making an uncommon impact. That impact doesn’t have to be solely related to the well-being of the planet, and Andrew Kuschner’s company Silk Road Bazaar is a perfect example. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, its mission is to provide jobs and opportunity for social advancement to women in Kyrgyzstan by bringing modern interpretations of traditional Kyrgyz felt handicrafts like the Animal and Foodie Booties to the American marketplace –and it’s making a tangible impact.

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The Uncommon Life

Making a Difference through Handmade Designs

July 11, 2015

Dave in India Last year, we introduced you to Matr Boomie, a long time vendor and producer of traditionally made wooden goods. Our founder and CEO, Dave Bolotsky, took a tour of their artisan community in India, prompting a personal relationship with both the collective and the history surrounding the area.

Since then, we’ve begun a rolling donation partnership with the collective’s founder, Manish Gupta. For every dollar UncommonGoods donates to the collective, Matr Boomie will match that, lending both resources and opportunities to the artisans and their families. With this shared goal, we hope to provide a better way of life for those who produce and sell the items that have become customer favorites.

Owl Eyeglass Holder | UncommonGoods

Owl Eyeglass Holder
While the purchases themselves support the artists by offering them a continued means of income, this donation program will offer even more to the community. With the UG partnership, Matr Boomie has developed programs to hit two major areas of impact:

Health & Sanitation
Health camps offering free checkups, medicines, and eye exams will be set up in three different areas. There will also be a department for women’s health, a subject that is traditionally taboo in the area. This program will provide sanitary napkins by installing a napkin-manufacturing unit, which will also employ 2-3 women.
Artisans Receiving Eye Exams

Wood craft artisans receiving eye exams.

Education of Artisans & the Next Generation
Being in such a rural area, computer literacy is a major challenge. They have access to one computer center, but monthly expenditures are a concern. This program will strengthen the facility and even produce the funds to open an additional computer center, offering access to the artisans and their families.

English class

Artisans and their children now have access to English classes and other educational opportunities. 

To learn more about this program and the history that’s passed down into each piece they produce, check out our blog post about Dave’s visit to India. We’re looking forward to watching the community grow!

 

Wooden Items Handmade in India | UncommonGoods
See the Collection | UncommonGoods

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