When you’re on a trip it’s so satisfying to snag that perfect souvenir, one created by a local craftsperson rather than mass-produced in a foreign country and merely stamped with the destination. Most of us aren’t headed off on any big adventures right now. But now there is a new place online to armchair travel while shopping for authentic items made in global locales.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, in collaboration with NOVICA, the world’s largest impact-retailer for artisans and craftspeople, recently announced the launch of a new online marketplace. For sale are items created by artisans in countries that have been part of recent Festival programs like Armenia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil, along with other countries and more planned to be added in the future. Here are a few highlights of what’s available:
- A hand-threaded coconut shell beaded necklace with a dark, round pendant and a waxed cord created by Thai artisan Sasithon Saisuk ($19.99)
- An eco-friendly elephant sculpture made from recycled flip-flops from Ocean Sole of Kenya ($37.99)
- A hand-crafted bordered decorative bowl made from marupa wood by the Pataxo Indigenous Community in Brazil ($79.99)
- A sterling silver floral pendant designed and crafted by Tsolak Koshtoyan in Armenia ($89.99)
- A hand-crafted Blue Labyrinth wool area rug tinted with all-natural dyes derived from local materials and made by Oaxacan artisan Porfirio Gutierrez ($579.99)
- A hand-carved sal driftwood sculpture whose five abstract figures represent the bonds of friendship ($47.99)
With items at all price points, the offerings on the new marketplace make great gifts or a little pick-me-up for yourself. Works are searchable to country, category (jewelry, clothing, accessories and home decor) and budget, with information about each artisan and their mission. For more info and to shop the marketplace, visit the new website.
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