Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ten Thousand Villages

Just as I wrote about Etsy not too long ago, today I want to write about another organization I admire that specializes in handcrafted items: Ten Thousand Villages. According to their website, this fair trade organization has been in existence since 1946, supporting the work of artisans from all over the world, particular some of the lesser developed countries. In addition to selling artisan items online, they have over 160 retail outlets across North America, which is how I first came to know them, because we have one in Houston. And if I'm not mistaken, many of the salespeople in these stores are volunteers, which means more of the proceeds from the sales end up back with the artists themselves.

Because there is such a wide variety of merchandise, the prices vary greatly. Never fear, though -- there are some less expensive items to be found, many of which could serve as unique stocking stuffers, and others that would make wonderful larger gifts. I expect I'll be posting about various items from Ten Thousand Villages from time to time.

For now, though, I leave you with these images of three different Nativity-inspired items from Peru. (As an aside, although I celebrate Christmas as a cultural rather than a religious holiday, I adore the Nativity story and would love to collect Nativity scenes from around the world, if time, space, and money were no issue. I still love looking at them, in any case.) The first image is a set of 5" high ceramic pieces, priced at $38 for the set. The second image is a ceramic tea light holder, 6" high, priced at $28. And the third, my favorite of the group, is also ceramic, 6" wide by 4" high, and only $20. Hey, for something handmade all the way from Peru, that's not half bad.

One last thing I like is that Ten Thousand Villages features a lot of items made from recycled materials. Truly, this organization appeals to every one of my sensibilities.

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