Cooperatives and Artisan Groups
This is a partial list of the cooperatives, artisans and companies which ClothRoads is presently representing. We will be adding more as we build our business and our global outreach.
Adventure Yarns: Tajikistan
Adventure Yarns is a business component of an international development project based in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The project began in 2009 and is managed by ICARDA and funded by IFAD. The objective is to assist Tajik farmers to produce quality Angora and Cashgora goats and work with spinners and knitters to produce luxury mohair and cashgora yarns and knitted products for export. The export of yarns and handicrafts is expected to improve livelihoods of farmers and rural women while offering customers quality, fairly traded products made from natural fibers.
The mohair spinners in Northern Tajikistan produce high quality, luxury yarn that can compete with the finest yarns on the American and European market. The sales of their yarn help the women earn a good income. These earnings substantially improve their livelihoods and give them a level of financial security they could not gain otherwise. The capacity to earn good income also increases the women’s confidence and status in their communities and contributes to improving gender equality. Learn More
Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco: Peru
The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) was established as a Peruvian non-profit organization in 1996. Under the direction of its founder, Nilda Callañaupa, CTTC has grown into an exemplary cooperative. The objectives of the Center are to revive and continue the cultural heritage of textile creation, educate people to its tradition, and stimulate the production of traditional-based textiles as well as provide support and assistance to the communities of weavers with which the Center works. By researching and documenting techniques, styles, and designs, the Center works to preserve weaving traditions for future generations. Through the fairly- traded sales of products, the weavers now have sustainable incomes to obtain quality food, healthcare, and education; villagers can remain home with their families and not travel long distances to work in factory jobs or leave their villages permanently. The revitalization of weaving has fostered a new attitude and respect for the traditional craft of weaving and the people are now proud to wear their indigenous dress and call themselves weavers.
CTTC is located in Cusco on Avenida Sol and houses a museum, retail shop, administrative offices, educational center, village inventory, and dormitory for visiting village weavers. The Center currently works with over 600 weavers and their families from the nine communities of Acopia, Accha Alta, Chahuaytire, Chinchero, Mahuaypampa, Patabamba, Pitumarca, Sallac, and Santa Tomas. The Center also aims to research, document, and preserve traditional practices. It works to broaden and promote traditional textiles within Cusco and the world.
Creative Bee: India
A design studio, fashion house, craft foundation–accessing more than 400 handloom weavers in several states of India, Creative Bee truly celebrates the rich Indian heritage of gorgeously detailed weaving, printing and dyeing. With their policy to work within the parameters of “Handmade and Natural”, extensively working with their weavers from around India, they incorporate whiffs of new fashion trends into traditional handwoven textiles. Learn More
Creative Women: Africa
Creative Women, a Vermont-based company, works in partnership with six women-owned textile design studios in Ethiopia, Swaziland, Afghanistan, and Mali, to create traditionally-inspired contemporary accessories and home textiles. Creative Women works to promote equitable trading practices and to support women’s economic independence.
For the past eight years, Creative Women has been importing stylish wearable accessories and accents for the home from their partners abroad. They support the emerging private sector in each of these countries and, more importantly, creating jobs for women in societies where good jobs are rare. They have played a part in the growth of all partners’ companies and today help provide jobs for over 300 people, from office staff, to weavers, sewers, maintenance workers, and tea ladies. Learn More
Golden Buttons: Morocco
In 1997, Amina Yabis was a Moroccan Muslim wife and mother of four young boys. She understood that in order for women to participate in public life outside of the home, they needed to have access to the cash economy and the economic life of their community. She also knew that most of the women in the province earned money by making hand-knotted buttons used for traditional clothing throughout Morocco–a unique skill introduced by the early Jewish residents of Sefrou.
With this knowledge, Amina organized in 1999 the association Golden Buttons bringing together more than 400 charter members from throughout the province. In 2000, she founded the Sefrou Women’s Silk Button Cooperative, called Cherries. The coop is legally a separate entity from the association and is the association’s financial arm, buying buttons from members and marketing them throughout the country. In this way, the work of the cooperative supports the efforts of several thousand women and girls. Learn More
Ixbalam Ke Cooperative: Guatemala
Ixbalam Ke is a Guatemalan cooperative of women dedicated to the production of traditional textiles and preservation of traditional weaving. The weavers live in the community of Samac de Cobán in Alta Verapaz, a cloud-forest area. The members of the cooperative maintain the intricate technique of gauze weaving and the use of coyuche, or natural brown cotton, practices that are rapidly disappearing. They also have a project making little looms for younger generations to continue to learn the tradition of weaving.
The women of the cooperative get their inspiration from their natural surroundings. All their motifs are corn plant, crabs, leaves, mountains, rivers, spiders, and trees, as well as ducks and people. The textiles are woven on a backstrap loom, a tool that has been used since Mayan times. The sale of their weavings is their family’s primary income for their basic home, food, and education for their children.
Kala Raksha: India
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY KALA RAKSHA!
Kala Raksha has been a grassroots social enterprise dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. Comprising artisans, community members, and experts in the field of art, design and museum curation, Kala Raksha was founded on artisan initiative in 1993. Kala Raksha works with nearly 1,000 embroidery artisans living in seven ethnic communities and views process as important as product.
The trust also maintains a collection of heirloom textiles housed in their local museum. The museum embodies a simple but revolutionary concept: involve people in presenting their own culture. Kala Raksha is an outstanding model of community and artisan development. Learn More
Lepo Lorun: Indonesia
The Women’s Weaver Cooperative, Lepo Loru (House of Weaving), is located in East Flores, Indonesia, an area renowned for its naturally-dyed ikat textiles. All their cloth is woven on a backstrap loom, is made of spun cotton yarn which is resist-dyed with natural plants. The ikat patterns are based on traditional motifs and takes years to develop the skill. With some start-up money from the Indonesian government, the Cooperative was able to purchase sewing machines and start a new product line of bags, scarves, garments and table runners. Alfonsa Horeng founded the Weaving School where training and business development takes place. Learn More
Molo Project: Kenya
Gwen and John Meyers as directors of Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife (FKSW), a non-profit corporation in Oregon, FKSW partners with Networking for EcoFarming in Africa, a Kenyan NGO, to support community development. Part of this development meant learning how to use the wool from the local sheep. The women learned to spin the wool as well as create whimsical handknitted animals for resale. Women who had no or little experience in making things with wool, who never had an income, now have developed new skills and are transforming their own lives. They are buying plots of land, building houses, feeding and clothing their children, and paying schools fees, even for secondary school. They are buying sheep and calves and starting other small businesses on the side. Learn More
Ock Pop Tok: Laos
Ock Pop Tok, meaning east meets west, was started in 2000 by an indigenous weaver, Veomanee (Veo) Douangdala, and Jo Smith, an English photographer. Based in Luang Prabang, they have worked for over ten years to support master weavers and recently launched the Village Weavers Projects, a reintroduction of natural dyeing and weaving skills into rural communities.
The philosophy behind Ock Pop Tok is to empower women through the use of their traditional skills and promote the beauty of Laotian textiles worldwide. Following the principles of fair trade, they advance the artistic, cultural and social development of Lao artisans and increase the appreciation of Lao’s diverse textiles and communities through educational activities.
The Living Crafts Centre, located on the banks of the Mekong River, provides a place where women of many Lao ethnicities work together producing both traditional and contemporary designs. Recently they added a small resort, café, shop, and teaching facilities. Learn More
Rasuljon Mirzaahmedov: Uzbekistan
The region of the Ferghana Valley (Margilan) is famous for its handmade silk ikat production. Rasuljon represents five generations of ikat weavers in Margilan City, the most famous place for silk production in Central Asia. His family is at the vanguard of the revival of velvet ikat weaving in which white silk threads are dyed and placed on a narrow loom, a technique that is highly complicated and practiced by very few. This process requires a month to produce just a few yards of fabric. The ikat technique, adras, was forgotten during the Soviet time of Uzbek history. However, through the efforts of Rasuljon’s father, Turghunbay Mirzaahmedov’s, this type of fabric was restored in the 1990s.
In February 2007, upon the decision of UNESCO in Uzbekistan, the Centre for Handicraft Development was established to support handicrafts of the Fergana region at Said Akhmad Khuja Madrasa in Margilan city. Ikat weaving, silk and wool carpet weaving, block-printing and embroidery workshops are in operation at the Centre. Learn More
Federation Sahalandy (FS) is made up of seven weaving co-operatives located throughout the surrounding communities of Fandriana, in the mountain area of Sahdrandahy, Madagascar. The first of these was started in 2000; the final group was organized in 2006. Representing eighty weavers in the surrounding area, FS was launched in 2006 as a response to the villagers’ desire to collaborate in achieving their objectives.
The primary goal is to improve the standard of living of each individual weaver. Because a majority of the association is female, one can understand the vital importance of the role of women in the lives of the people of Sandrandahy. One of their main goals is to expand and to welcome more females into their cooperatives, and continue to empower their daughters. With a great emphasis on professionalism, fairness and equality, FS works hard for a sustainable income to support their families with safe homes and nutritional food. Above all, their aim is to be financially self-sufficient. Learn More
Sidr Craft: Bhuj, India
The Khatri community is renowned for tying extremely fine dot patterns in a sophisticated composition style. Jabbar and his brothers have continued in this vein; their mother and sister, along with over two hundred women from the community, tying the fine patterns that merge traditional and contemporary designs. They are also incorporating ideas of sustainability and ecological awareness in their enterprise, especially in their use of natural dyes such as indigo, logwood, madder, rhubarb, and weld. Learn More
Sna Jolobil: Chiapas
Sna Jolobil–Sna is’ house ‘and Jolobil means’ fabric ‘in Tzotzil Maya. This indigenous, non-profit organization was founded in 1976, and now comprises more than 800 members of 30 different communities in Chiapas, Mexico. The primary aim is to carry out the revitalization of the traditional techniques of Mayan textile art and market craft products as a source of income for the weavers and their families. The main priorities of Sna Jolobil are the preservation of the techniques and designs of Mayan textile art, the development of jobs for indigenous communities through training programs, the creation and marketing of textile products with new designs applications, the undertaking of cultural outreach programs through the development of collaborative exhibitions and publications, and the care of natural resources for producing handcrafts. Learn More
Sustainable Threads: India
Sustainable Threads currently works with over ten artisan groups in India. Founded by Poonam Abbi and Harish Hathiramani, the company was born from their collective professional experience and personal interest in rural development, entrepreneurship and social justice. With a goal of creating long term, deep partnerships, their focus is on the people, not just the product. In addition to working with the fair trade practices in production, they devote considerable time and resources to weave in ecologically friendly ways for their products and company.
Waqxaqi Kan: Guatemala
In the small village of Chavacruz, 12 kilometers from the main market town of Sololá this cooperative weaves on backstrap looms naturally-dyed cotton cloth. The community was devastated during the civil war from 1970 to the 1980s and many women were left as widows. During this time they formed the weaving cooperative, Waqxaqí Kan. The daughters have now joined the widows to help with the weaving, as well as translating and interpreting from their native Kakchique language to Spanish. Today the group consists of 20 women who work in a variety of crafts. Waqxaqi Kan means the 8th weaving day in the Mayan language Kaqchikel. Learn More
Has supported the role of women in handloom weaving since its inception in 2002, working toward making handloom a profitable, fulfilling, sustainable and dignified income-earning activity particularly for women in rural areas of India. Learn More