Consider the most colorful collection of artisan-made glassware for your summer gatherings! Our top picks for summer soirees include our vibrant recycled glass collection from Mexico.
Defined by bright color, uniquely textured organic shapes, this artisan crafted glassware is an eco-friendly eye-catcher. Each piece uses the material from at least three soda bottles, removing literal tons of waste from landfills and diminishing demand for new material.
Go on, tell me more! Sure thing- glass blowing is an ancient art dating back to the first century BC. Sometime in the mid-1500s, the very first glass made in North America was produced in Puebla Mexico by artisans brought to Mexico by the Spanish. For centuries, with nothing more than a globule of molten glass, some primitive tools, and a long hollow pipe, these skilled artisans managed to produce glass items in a variety of shapes and sizes.
We work with a team of artisans to create one-of-a-kind collections to give your tabletop a festive look for the season.
1. Maya Glassware, margarita glasses in Aquamarine. The Maya Collection is enhanced with a crackle accent that adds an extra layer of interest. Sold in sets of four.
2. Riviera Glassware Inspired by the sea and sky, our Riviera Recycled Glassware Collection is dappled with bits of color, transforming salvaged glass into beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware. All items sold in sets of four.
3. Color Rim Recycled Glasses Each beautiful piece of Color Rim Glassware has its own unique characteristics and a solid, weighty feel. This simple yet elegant collection has been designed to combine traditional handcrafted skills with modern influences to produce a great look that will enhance any party setting. Sold in sets of two.
4. Rainbow Recycled Vase A simple ring of color brings this recycled glass vase an elevated look. A stunning addition to your table.
5. Confetti Recycled Glassware Collection Confetti-like sprinkles of colored glass make each glass a unique creation to cradle your favorite cool drink. Color variations are to be expected, and are part of their unique charm. Sold in sets of four.
The history of Kantha began as a necessity for keeping warm over 500 centuries ago. Bengali women with little money would sew together their discarded sari cloth, piecing together a repurposed blanket. Over time, women would pass on their skilled sewing knowledge to daughters which transformed necessity into valued pieces of heirloom items. Treasured Kantha were given as wedding gifts and some held stories woven through the Kantha cloth. Today we cherish these beautifully embroidered pieces and have designed items that incorporate these traditional techniques into unique home goods with a story. We love how each is different making our holiday Kantha story one-of-a-kind.
1. Recycled Kantha Decorative Wreath -this recycled sari fabric decorative wreath features an assortment of colors created with the use of recycled cotton saris ornamented with Kantha embroidery and handcrafted details.
2. Recycled Sari Table Linen Collection- The collection of placemats and table runners are handmade in India by artisans who carefully collect pieces of vintage and upcycled fabrics to create elaborate patterns and colors.
3. Upcycled Kantha Throw- Hang on the back of a chair or lay at the end of your bed for a splash of vibrant color. We love to turn our throw into a Christmas Tree Skirt for the holidays! Patterns, colors and size will vary because each Kantha throw is different from the next.
4. Sari Bead Garland- Colorful beads made from recycled Kantha textiles are strung into a long, festive garland.
5.Recycled Sari Fabric Jewelry- Add a pop of color to your festive attire! These intricately made peices of jewelry make a statement at your next gathering.
6. Vintage Patchwork Kantha Stocking- Hand-sewn and embroidered by artisans in India, each stocking provides a livelihood for women in poor communities and gives their children the opportunity to live better, more productive lives.
Find all of our Kantha collection items on our site and make your holiday decor a one-of-a-kind story!
Top left image by She Kantha, middle photograph of women by Geoff Bugbee
Black Friday has been known to shoppers for countless years as the biggest shopping day of the year and the day to get the best deals from the big box retailers and department stores. Small Business Saturday, first established in the U.S in November 2010 is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express.
VivaTerra proudly offers products from small business across the U.S. We truly believe in supporting small business through our artisan Jewelry that is handmade and marketed by local Virginian Artisans, Chocolates from an eco-conscious business in Portland Oregon, beautiful all natural wreaths that are absolutely handmade in California and Oregon or 100% natural soaps and skincare that are entirely hand made from all natural ingredients harvested right here in Madison Virginia. Our locally made Blue Ridge Comb products are completely natural and handcrafted. The talented artisan, Fashaya Crigler has created a line of products so natural you would think they came directly from Mother Nature herself. I caught up with Fashaya, the owner of Blue Ridge Comb last week in the middle of her busiest season for a quick Q&A that we thought you would enjoy.
VT: What inspired you to start a business that involved bee keeping?
FC: Growing up on a working farm helped develop my awareness of how much the land, animals, elements of nature and whole foods have influenced my desire to help our pollinators. Without the services our pollinators provide many plants species would die off and we would potentially loose a large amount of food supply. Understanding the importance of pollinators helped evolve my passion of creating herbal pollinator friendly gardens and crafting the elements of both herbs, and beekeeping into handmade products.
VT: Do you consider yourself and the efforts of your business as "green" or "environmentally friendly"?
FC: Yes, absolutely.
VT: What is your main business mission?
FC: Blue Ridge Comb was created to craft high quality products from elements of nature and in doing so support our pollinators.
VT: Lastly, if you could give any advice, one sentence long, to people about environmental friendly consumption, what would it be and why?
FC: Increase awareness of how products are made, how they are grown if plant based and if using products from animals – how they are raised.
On Small Business Saturday we celebrate the many entrepreneurs who operate small businesses here in the U.S. and around the globe. We believe by supporting small innovative businesses it helps create financial security for many rural artisans. Today we would like to highlight the products that are handcrafted by Fashaya. Find her all natural gift sets that make the perfect and unusual stocking stuffers including, His & Her Handmade Soap Gift Sets and Fresh-Faced Gift Set..
In the beautiful traditional arts of Thailand, we often see heavy influences of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. These religious cultural influences were brought in from India and other neighboring countries and ethnic groups. Thai style however, did grow into its own unique style during the mid-thirteenth century, while its religiously focused themes remained. These arts included many forms; Thai painting, textiles, ceramics, architecture, carving, sculpture, and more were prevalent through all cultural periods.
The form of Thai art we may admire most is intricate wood-carved artistry. All across Thailand you will see remarkable detailed carvings, which grace the doors and walls of temples and other places of worship. More often than not, these carved works feature motifs depicting Buddhist and Hindu mythology, and draw inspiration from the beauty of the natural world. Artisans used only handheld tools to render these impressively detailed scenes, and today this tradition of hand carving continues in Thai arts.
Many of these works, old and new alike, were carved into teak wood. Indigenous to the area, its was prized because it was a hardwood with a rich beautiful color, and because it was known to be resistant to the elements. Its durable nature has proven to be true as we see that these beautiful creations are still standing and intact today. Many products in our Thailand collection are crafted using beautiful teak as well. One of our favorite examples of the beautiful intricacy of this art form is our Teak Lotus Handcarved Wall Art. A traditional symbol of prosperity, this beautiful panel wall art is sure to bring a wealth of decorative appeal to any space. Handcarved, sanded and waxed by Thai artisans and craftsmen, this absolutely gorgeous piece of art reflects hours of care and attention, resulting in an incredibly complex, blossoming design. With these panels or any item from our collection, you can bring a piece of Thai artistry and traditional culture into your home.
Only Available From VivaTerra; our is so unique that no two pieces are exactly the same. Each piece is carefully handcrafted and each leaf design is pressed with an actual leaf and then carefully hand painted by experienced artisans All Natural; all of our Pressed Leaf Dinnerware is lead-free, cadmium-free and non-toxic. The paints and clays we use are totally safe for you and your family.
A Time Honored Artisan Tradition; Pressed Leaf Dinnerware is handmade non-toxic dinnerware is skillfully crafted by artisan potters in Mexico that have honed their skills for hundreds of years and passed them down through generations of artisans
People not Machines; our lead-free and cadmium-free ceramic dishes, are the work of human hands, not vast, polluting factory machines and assembly lines. One of the best ways for a company to 'go green' is to let people, not machines, take back the responsibility for performing important tasks. You can trust our skilled artisans to create a dinnerware that is unique and provides a quality that no machine could ever hope to equal.
Handcrafted products generally possess a much higher level of quality due to the simple fact there is a lot more attention to detail. In addition to the better quality they can give buyers some surprising side benefits too. Real artisan products stand apart from their industrialized knockoffs, usually in looks, quality, and price. But the most important difference is the total attention to detail and their personal touch. Behind our artisan made pieces are talented and creative artisans. Slowing down the pace of today’s fast fashion and production world, to work with these artisans who masterfully and carefully craft each of our pieces one by one has a great impact on each and every one of their lives. By filling your everyday life with our products you are creating countless benefits for the artisans, their families and their communities – I can’t highlight the following facts enough!
1. Artisan-made/Handcrafted Products are good for the Job Market both globally and here in the U.S. This is one reason you should really feel good about spending your money on hand-crafted artisan made products? You’re creating jobs where jobs are really needed. One study found that shifting just 10 percent of consumer spending in a particular area to locally owned businesses would create hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in local wages. In turn you get a better product and you helped talented artisans share their creative trade while making a fair wage.
2. Artisan products are more sustainable. Work done by hand uses less energy than a mass production assembly line, which in turn makes it more environmentally sustainable. Most artisans only use natural materials that are easily available and in many cases will focus their craft using recycled and reclaimed materials. Furthermore, industrialized, commercial goods that are mass produced in large quantities overseas need to ship a very long distance in order to reach the retailer.
3. Artisan Made Products Have More Perceived Value. The perception of any handmade artisan product has a much higher perceived value. Regardless if it is a piece of wall décor, furniture, clothing or jewelry, when the attention to detail combined with the one by one construction of the item not only creates a stronger perception of value it actually creates a much better value overall.
4. Handcrafted Products Are Just Better. It’s not just a nebulous air of authenticity that causes people to pay more for handcrafted products. Handcrafted goods are generally, just better. Between the materials used, the time invested, the creative aspect and the extreme attention to the finest details, the end result is a better product that you can be proud to own, proud to use and proud to give as a gift.
5. Artisan Made Products Just Make You Feel Better If you’re like me, that’s really important. Knowing that you helped a specific artisan, a community of artisans or a village of artisans makes me feel better and proud to use and display that particular product. I want to feel good about what I buy; I want what I buy to be unique, different, one of a kind and made with thought and care rather than pumped off an assembly line. Handmade products have more character and feeling and that makes me feel good.
6. Handcrafted Products Help Communities. Regardless if the community is a local artisan community her in the U.S. or a village in Peru or Indonesia, purchasing a handcrafted product helps these communities. In many cases the product they produce are their only means to sustain their life and this artisan trade has been handed down from generation to generation.
7. Handcrafted Products Offer a Fuller Experience. It’s great when you find a product you love and you know that no one else will have one exactly like yours, that’s often the experience you have when you buy an artisan made product, it’s the joy of finding something you really love and just the knowledge that a product was handcrafted. It gives you a better experience because there is a relatable, knowable back-story.
8. Handcrafted Products Are More Popular Than Ever. Handcrafted products are more notable today than ever – more and more people are embracing handcrafted goods. VivaTerra has embraced this philosophy since its beginning and continues to support artisans both locally and worldwide. Buying handmade goods from VivaTerra allows you access to the skills of artisans around the world.
9. Handcrafted Products Are Unique. One of the most prevailing reasons for choosing to purchase handcrafted goods is that we just like having something that didn’t come off an assembly line. The nature of handmade goods means that there are fewer of them, so whatever you’re displaying, using, wearing, eating or adding to your home is as unique as you are.
10. Handcrafted Products Support a Tradition of Skilled Work. We know that supporting your local artisan is good for the community and supporting global artisans is good for impoverished villages and communities around the world, but it’s also good for the art. As technology makes it possible to replace skilled artisans with machines it’s important to keep the “Art” in the products we love and keeping hand-making goods a financially feasible lifestyle.
VivaTerra sells an assortment of beautiful Peruvian Alpaca Wool throws. While the price is much higher than other cotton or synthetic throws, there is an inherent value when you purchase an Alpaca Throw.
Natural, Silky and Luxurious: Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic.
Animal Friendly: Buying wool supports raising sheep for their fleece rather than food. Every year a new fleece grows on the sheep's back, and may be removed without harm to the animal.
Environmentally Sustainable: Using alpaca products supports local farmers throughout the world; especially those letting their alpaca graze on pesticide free pastures. Alpaca Wool is a sustainable resource. Most Peruvian Alpaca wool is produced organically or with low use of harmful chemicals. The processing of alpaca wool requires very little environmental impact compared to other natural fibers or man-made fibers.
Naturally Flame Resistant: Alpaca is naturally water-repellent and difficult to ignite which creates an inherent flame resistant characteristic of the final product made from Alpaca Wool.
It’s Small Business Saturday, our personal favorite day of the biggest shopping weekend of the year! You may be wondering, “Why? You’re not a small business?” And this is true! However, the hundreds of artisans who’s products we carry are the smallest types of business there are. Some are one-man-shows, some are just a few people in a small studio, and some are entire villages across the globe. These “little guys” are the artisans and small business who make up the whole big VivaTerra, and we love to take the opportunity to spotlight their work and say thank you!
This Small Business Saturday, you can save 20% on our artisan-made jewelry collections! And we have some beautiful new, nature-inspired pieces that arrived just in time for the holidays. From Nancy Nelson’s sterling silver cast twigs to Amy Huml’s hand-wired tree necklaces (each one of those takes her at least an hour to make in her home studio!), you’re sure to find something for every lady on your list and probably a little something for yourself too. We took the time to ask a few of our USA-based, woman artisans about their humble beginnings, process, and inspiration for their work. We want to introduce them to you and share their answers here.
Meet Elaine B!
Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making?
While in school I had the realization that everything is a job, anything you can imagine somebody gets paid for. So I asked myself, what do I want to do? How do I want to spend my days? I have always loved crafts of all kinds, and when I went to school at VCU jewelry is what stuck. As a designer I started out making the things that I wanted to wear (and could afford) as both the company and I matured so did the jewelry line, going from playful brass rings to engagement rings.
What inspires you and your creative vision, how does that translate into your work?
I am most inspired by everyday life. I soak up all kinds of things around me and think about how something can be altered to be more interesting or more wearable. At the studio, we put a strong emphasis on lightweight pieces and wearability while also trying to be fresh, new and detail oriented. I believe that people like to know where things come from. Everyone wants to get out of the traditional office setting, shopping at the mall, we want a more authentic life. I think that people want unique pieces that are sustainable and have a story, not just flashy or expensive.
Meet Nancy Nelson!
Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making?
I enrolled in a metalsmithing class while I was obtaining my BFA in Industrial Design, and fell in love with working with metals and stones. This was the moment I realized I found my calling. Nancy Nelson Jewelry started in 2007. They were humble beginnings as I worked from my kitchen table and sold jewelry at craft fairs and markets. The business organically grew over time, and--in 2011—we began a fully operating business. As the business grew and thrived, I hired an assistant and built a home studio nestled in the woods to accommodate Nancy Nelson Jewelry’s growing needs that allowed me to balance my many responsibilities as a wife, mother and successful business owner, while remaining inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds our forest home.
Can you share a bit about the process of how you create your pieces after inspiration strikes?
Inspired by detail and beauty, each piece of birch bark, every twig, pine cone, lichen and botanical leaf is hand-picked for its perfect size and weight. These findings are then made directly into molds to preserve their delicate, natural designs. Molds are then cast in metal using the lost-wax technique and transformed into wearable, natural jewelry. Each final piece seeks to evoke memories of enchanted forest wanderings.
Meet Amy Huml!
Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making?
I’ve always loved jewelry for its ability to reflect personal style and often start a conversation. I took a basic jewelry-making class about 10 years ago and was instantly hooked.
What are some things you stand for beyond the beauty and unique aesthetic of your work? Such as standards and sources for materials, sustainable or eco-friendly processes, etc.
I support handmade and often buy materials from vendors who not only sell supplies but are also artists. Most of my materials are purchased in the US and often from sellers of locally sourced stones. I look for quality materials and use recycled materials in packaging.
Meet Britta Ambauen!
Tell us about how it all started, how and why did you get into jewelry making?
I was introduced to jewelry making as an apprentice at “Angie Star Jewelry,” a very cute boutique in Boulder, CO. I had just graduated from the University of Colorado with fine art degree, emphasis in printmaking, and was figuring out what to do with my life. I found the apprenticeship opportunity on craigslist and went in to meet with Angie, who became an important mentor in my life. Her small boutique has a full metal smith shop in back. Each day that I came in, I would learn a new technique and then make jewelry for the shop, work in sales and eventually, I got to feature my own line. I didn’t work at the store for more than a few months, but I learned enough to teach myself new techniques as I collected tools and supplies at home. A few years later, I was working in advertising and decided to take the leap and do what I really wanted to do. I quit my job and rented a small studio space in March of 2009. I’ve focused my energy on jewelry every since and business has grown slowly yet surely.
Where do you do your work? The city or state, as well as your workspace location?
My studio has moved with me from Boulder to Brooklyn, to Seattle, and now to Austin, TX. I work in a space within a warehouse of artists on the East side. I make jewelry here, but also paint, sculpt clay, sew clothes and experiment with a variety of mediums.
A truly age-old craft, the backstrap loom has been used in Guatemala for over two thousand years, pre-dating the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. It is a traditionally Mayan art form, one that has remained relatively unchanged since ancient times. Representations of women using backstrap looms can be found in many pieces of ancient Mayan art, and it is also present in Mayan mythology and folklore. According to Quiche tradition, the art of weaving comes from the moon goddess Ixchel, and she is often represented as the Cosmic Weaver, seated in a backstrap loom.
Even now, backstrap weaving is a still part of the daily lives of Mayan women. The ancient craft is used to weave fabric for clothes and other household textiles, and most importantly, it is used to create the traditional dress of Mayan women, known as a huilpil. This garment is closely tied to cultural identity—each woman weaves her own huilpil in the same fashion as her mother, grandmother and the many generations of women who came before her, taking up to months to weave her unique fabric. Each Mayan community has a specific, identifiable weaving pattern and color palette; making this art form a direct reflection of community pride, while granting Guatemalan women the opportunity to express their individual worldview.
Young women begin to learn the craft of weaving at the age of seven, but an important cultural rite of passage occurs when a young girl is just three weeks old. The child's midwife bathes her in a Mayan sweat lodge, known as a temascal. The baby's mother gives the midwife miniature versions of what will be the girl's weaving instruments, and as the midwife bathes the child, she passes each instrument into the girl's hands, praying for the girl to become a gifted and talented weaver, like the generations of women who proceeded her.
Not only are the fabrics created on the loom a unique expression of identity and culture—the tools themselves are made individually by hand or passed between generations. The loom, also known as a belt loom or telar de cinteron, is simple and often made by each weaver, a collection of sticks, rods and threads that is easily portable—it rolls up compactly when not in use. To weave, the back rod is tied to a tree, post or other support, while the other end has a belt that encircles the weaver, wrapping around her back. These belts are often hand-woven also. The weaver sits on the ground, rocking forward and backward to create the needed tension in the warp as she weaves.
The warp is divided in half by the shed roll, typically made of bamboo or sugar cane. Pebbles are inserted into the hollow tube of the bamboo or sugar cane, making a kind of rainstick rattle as the weaver leans forwards and backwards, adjusting the tension of the loom as she works. Another important element of the loom is the heddle rod, which is often made of a stick with three or more prongs on one end and from which the bark has been removed. This heddle rod is very important to the weaver as it further separates the warp, making it easier to weave swiftly. However, the most treasured part of a blackstrap loom is the beater, which is used to compress the woven weft threads. It is made of a heavy wood that has been carved into a kind of wedge shape—it is thicker at the top and then thins to a fine, almost knife-like edge that is used to pack the weft threads into a tight, close design. The beater is prized by each weaver and is often passed from mother to daughter through generations.
The threads themselves are also created in a way that has changed little throughout the centuries. Since antiquity, these women have woven with cotton wool, traditionally dyed using natural plant pigments, creating a variety of bright and subtle shades. These dyes are made from various organic materials, such as carrots for orange, hibiscus flower for a rosy pink, quilete for green, and guayabe for a deep gold.
In the modern world, this age-old craft has also taken on an important economic significance. The fine fabrics made with meticulous care by these artisans have become highly prized, sparking a rise in financial independence for the talented women weavers. In 1983, Rigoberta Menchù, a Nobel Peace Laureate and indigenous rights leader, spoke of the importance of backstrap weaving for the women of Guatemala, observing that "it's women who preserve the art of weaving; we are the weavers. Our knowledge concerning weaving ourselves is very advanced. That's why many people everywhere consider the Guatemalan women to be an artist. And weaving is an art." As a cottage industry, backstrap weaving allows Guatemalan women to turn their cultural heritage into a life-sustaining practice—and the world profits too. The amazing artworks created by these incredibly talented women are unlike any other fabric to be found anywhere else on the globe—an art form refined by time, practice and care.
Justina Blakeney is a girl gone wild in the best way possible. A figurehead in the world of bohemian style, Justina is leading the charge on inspiring spaces filled with bold color & pattern, modern style, and signature boho flair (also, plants, a lot of plants). She is a designer, artist, blogger at TheJungalow.com, and the author of the New Your Times best-selling book The New Bohemians. And now, she is also the visionary behind a collection of breathtakingly bold Loloi pillows and rugs.
Wild patterns, eye-catching colors and outlandish texture define the collection and assure a transformative style update for any room in which the pieces are placed. The collection, a collaboration with Loloi, is made using all natural materials. And as always, you can count on our Loloi pillows (Justina’s and otherwise) to be stuffed with plush natural down filling. View some of her pieces and inspiring spaces here, and be sure to shop Justina’s wild designs in our new Summer Collection!
March 8th is International Women’s Day—a day dedicated to coming together across the globe to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a day to rally behind equality, support and encourage females, speak out for women’s rights, and take action to accelerate gender parity.
VivaTerra wholeheartedly stands behind the mission of this day in support of our artisans, our neighbors, our friends, our communities and our world. We take this time to celebrate and honor our female artisans from whom we source beautiful goods from across the globe.
View our collection of items, crafted by the hands of talented women, here. And to take further action in support of gender parity and equality around the world, visit InternationalWomensDay.com and make a #PledgeForParity now!
We love an opportunity to celebrate different forms of traditional artistry from around the world. Our new collection of handcarved décor and dining pieces does just that. From Thailand to Indonesia, India and more, this collection is a curation of beautiful handcraftsmanship from talented artisans in countries across the globe. These pieces are special because of their individuality and unique handcrafted qualities. But also, because of the meticulous nature of the labor that goes into making each one.
Artisans work with basic hand tools, and we aren’t talking about the “power” kind, to carve their designs. Chisels, hammers, knives and wedges are put to work under the artisans’ careful eyes and steady hands. Impressively, these processes yield magnificent sculptures, such as our Lucky the Elephant table. Lucky is created is Laos, where the tribe of craftsmen that make him claim they, “see an elephant within every tree”. Equally as impressive are the small accents, like our teak lovebirds, which account for what they lack in size with remarkable details. Even our block-printed textiles begin their journey toward becoming exquisite handmade fabrics in the hands of carving-artisans. Watch the video below to see the mesmerizing process of creating a handcarved printing block:
Carving a printing block V&A
Turning a plank of wood into an intricately carved printing block. A highly skilled practice filmed by the V&A Museum as part of their Fabric of India Exhibition. Visit www.alchemiya.com to learn more.Posted by Alchemiya on Friday, November 20, 2015
A rug—a floor protector, a step softener, and something so much more. While in our everyday lives rugs can serve important and practical purposes, in the big picture of our home’s décor they quite literally lay the foundation for the look and feel inside our homes. Bigger than your bed, your couch, or your dining table, your rug is the piece in your room that truly establishes the mood. Additionally, a rug is one of the most important items in your home that you live with. Whether it meets your toes every morning or it’s where you lay during movie night, your rug is something you’ll interact with many times every day. Between its practical application, significance to your décor, and every day roles in your home, we believe it is imperative your rug is well designed and well crafted.
Our current collection of rugs, offered only online, is sourced from a rapidly popularizing, innovative company in the rug and home textiles industry, Loloi. Starting over eleven years ago in Dallas, Texas, they began with a vision to create home textiles on the cutting edge of design, and that exhibited the quality and craftsmanship inherent to traditional forms of textile artistry. While Loloi offers a variety of style, pattern, color and material options, our selection includes only their rugs made with natural and eco-friendly materials, with most being constructed via hand knotting, hand tufting, or hand hooking methods. You can expect to see a range from bold bohemian patterns to subdued modern zen looks, bright color combinations and natural hues, and size and style options for any space in your home.
Shop our collection—now with free shipping—at vivaterra.com and don’t forget to check out our Loloi pillow collection while you’re there. Plus, before shopping for a rug, we recommend you browse Rugs 101, Loloi’s comprehensive guide to rug materials, constructions, and styles. Once you make your choice, share your style with us—post a photo and tag @VivaTerra_ on Instagram #InspiredGreenLiving, or find us on Facebook!
Q&A with artist Diana Branscome, creator of our Sea Glass Jewelry Collection:
For Small Business Saturday, we’d like to take a moment and celebrate all of our artisans who run small businesses around the world. From villages, to co-ops, to living rooms and workshops, we are so proud to be able to share beautiful work made by talented hands from all corners of the globe.
One such gifted artist, is based right here in the USA. We discovered her gorgeous and eco-chic creations at a local farmers' market and fell in love with her work. Meet Diana Branscome, the maker of our gorgeous Sea Glass Jewelry collection.
VT: How did you get into jewelry making?
Diana: A long time ago, I was working as a legal analyst. It inspired me to do something creative in my off-time, and jewelry-making was the fun choice. I used gemstones and different metals and started a side business selling my work on weekends.
VT: Why did you choose to work with glass, specifically reclaimed and recycled glass?
Diana: After a number of years using semi-precious gemstone beads, I felt that I had explored most of the possibilities of the genre. I happened to go to a party at an interactive glass studio, and I ended up doing an apprenticeship there to learn the basics of fusing and slumping art glass. One day when walking downtown, I saw restaurants with recycling bins outside that held beautiful colors of bottles and thought that someone should do something with them. Then I realized that I was that someone! I started experimenting with making bowls and plates out of bottles. Occasionally, little bits of the vessels would drop away during firing, and that inspired me to make jewelry out of the smaller pieces.
VT: How are your glass stones tumbled/fired to look like sea glass?
Diana: There is actually no tumbling involved at all. I cut the nuggets at room temperature using a hand tool, then I fire them in the kiln overnight at over 1400 degrees. Sometimes they have sharp points when they come out, so I grind those smooth. They are still shiny after firing, so I sandblast them to give them a beachy texture.
VT: How long does it take to assemble one of your necklaces?
Diana: There is no simple answer to this one! I make the necklaces in batches, so there is gathering, soaking and de-labeling, cutting/shaping, overnight firing, grinding, sandblasting, washing, two-step epoxy with 24-hour cure period, then actual assembly, and finally packaging.
VT: Do you have helpers or are you the sole artisan for your collections?
Diana: At present, I am the sole artisan for my collections. I am lucky that VivaTerra is understanding in allowing me to send my work in batches rather than building it all up at once.
VT: Any other interesting details about the Sea Glass Jewelry collection?
Diana: The glass in the Sea Glass Jewelry Collection at VivaTerra is all recycled, mostly from bottles and occasionally from other types of glass like antique drinking glasses or blown glass vessels that have gotten damaged and are now grist for my mill. Some is donated directly from customers and friends and some reclaimed from local bars and restaurants.
The season has arrived for gifting and giving, getting and thanking, and with that, searching and shopping. We all hope to find the perfect gift for each person in our life—people who are special to us, people who are unique, and probably, people who already have everything. This is why we created our artisan-made gift collection.
We’ve sourced beautiful handmade products from artisans in over 20 countries across the globe, including “locally” from the US. The combination of hand-craftsmanship, traditional artistry, and global cultural influence yield an assortment of truly unique and genuinely one-of-a-kind products. Not only are these gift-able selections sure to be original, but they possess a quality and durability that comes only from the hands of the artisans who craft them, using time honored skills passed through the generations before them.
We additionally love the thought that these gifts allow you to do double the giving. Your purchase supports our artisans across the globe, many whom work with our fair trade partners, to sustain their production, and ultimately, invest in their communities and personal livelihood. While your loved ones receive a handmade, one-of-a-kind gift, an artist and crafter benefits from your investment into their work as well.
The artisan-made gift collection puts the globe within your reach, while allowing you to reach someone across the globe! We hope you, and those to whom you give, are inspired to give, receive, and even decorate in the artisan handmade holiday style.
We support and admire the artisans from all around the world, whose meticulous craftsmanship makes our handmade products one-of-a-kind, quality pieces. Whether hand carved, woven, stamped, or crafted we believe that the artistry and craftsmanship of a handmade product is beyond compare to any mass-manufacturing process. Because of this, we also support non-profit and fair trade organizations worldwide to ensure the artisans who make many of our products see fair wages, healthy working conditions, and sustainable development for their communities. Additionally, we source many products from global, fair trade partners. Not only do these partners ensure that artisans are treated well and paid fairly, but also that these artisans, their families and their communities directly see the benefits of their artistry and craftsmanship. This support helps promote artisans as valued members of their societies, and gives recognition to the value of their artistry in our own communities as well. In support of fair trade month, we are offering 20% off a select assortment of products, many artisan made, that we hope you’ll enjoy. We thank you for your support.
To celebrate this Independence Day, we at VivaTerra wanted to share our thoughts on “Made in the USA.” Support of products that are made in the United States is a value that many Americans stand behind. It has obvious benefits that we all care about supporting, such as overall economic stimulation and job creation for our neighbors and ourselves. And for us here at VivaTerra, the list goes on.
Of course American jobs are important, but beyond that—trying to always keep a global perspective—American culture is important. Often times it is easy to get caught in a worldview that centers on your own geographic location or your demographic profile. Because of this, when we hear words like “culture” and “artisans,” we often think of some faraway place. But in the U.S., there's a growing artisan community that we not only want to support, but want to share as well. VivaTerra is global in scope, and we see the USA as a critical component of that, believing that just like our products tie us and our customers to artisans around the world, they can also tie us to each other. There are artists, crafters, makers, builders, carpenters and all other types of artisans right here in our own back yards, and our hope is that when you think of beautiful, handcrafted products from across the globe, you think of them too.
We also believe that buying domestically can be more eco-conscious, as it reduces transportation needs and consequently the energy and natural resources expended in the process. This makes us huge proponents of shopping local, and for us, the U.S. is local! But truly, the greatest value of shopping local is buying products made where there is heritage and tradition behind their craftsmanship. For instance, driftwood naturally comes from the shores of the Pacific Northwest, so it makes sense that there is a community of people who have long been using this resource available to them to create beautiful, high-quality items.
For these reasons and more, we value and support products made in the USA just as much as we value the beautiful products we carry from across the rest of the globe. No matter where you are or where you’re from, we hope you will seek out and value the culture and artistry in your own front yard while looking out to the world.
Happy July 4th!
/San-ko’-fa:// an ancient proverb evoking people to return to their past to correct mistakes. Traditionally, this is symbolized by a bird looking back on its past carrying the egg of its birth. Therefore, The Sankofa Center uses the communication tool of Africa’s past, dance dramas, to capture and foster health, compassion, and open-mindedness in the face of HIV today. - The Sankofa Center
As bright as the spirit of Africa, colorful West African fabrics like those created by the Sankofa Center in Ghana bring together a varied and eye-pleasing mélange of patterns and shades. From geometric and intricate to floral and natural, these patterns and colors are based on traditional tribal wear, with each pattern unique to a certain tribe. The work accomplished by the Sankofa Center is further rooted in traditional African culture in another way. Through modern interpretations of age-old dramatic dance, the center strives to inform and educate audiences on the topic of HIV/AIDS, using the poignancy and story-telling power of the dance to spread knowledge about prevention, detection and treatment.
The beautiful fabric textiles the center creates also play a role in this important mission. The vibrant wax dyed fabrics are transformed into functional pieces of textile art by the hands of local Ghanaian women. Through employing local women, the center empowers them, enabling more security and independence for the region's women. The fabrics are dyed using a method very similar to batik-dying, applying wax as a resistance zone on the fabric when dyed. Once dunked and dyed and as colorful as the rainbow, these fabrics are then sewn into functional pieces of chic, unique clothing, accessories, and home décor, like this bright and beautiful duvet set.
With one foot firmly rooted in traditional African culture, the Sankofa Center manages to use these significant cultural elements to speak to and spread awareness regarding current crises in Africa, encouraging education and empowerment through artistic media.
See the entire collection of Ghanaian handcrafts here.
At VivaTerra, we understand the incomparable quality found only in products made by hand, and have tremendous respect for the expert craftsmanship of our many artisans. These gifted artisans hail from more than twenty different countries around the world. They may come from different cultures, but all take pride in the beautiful products they create for us.
Today we wanted to shine the spotlight on Prokritee, a wonderful non-profit organization that supports Bengali women’s groups. Prokritee (which means “nature” in Bangla) manages eight handicraft enterprises that provide jobs for poor rural women.
Prokritee artisans produce hundreds of unique handmade items, including cards, albums, frames, wrapping paper, candles and wooden toys. Many of our exquisite gift wrap items are made by Prokritee artisans, as are our handmade garlands and silk gift bags.
The care that Prokritee artisans take in producing these high quality handmade goods is evident in each and every one. They’re all meticulously crafted with the attention to detail that only human hands can provide.
The women who work for the Prokritee enterprises are widows, divorcees or head-of-households with little or no income. By providing training and jobs for these women, Prokritee is able to improve their standard of living and help them see a future filled with hope and happiness instead of poverty and despair.
Prokritee also has a design department, which helps match the skills of the artisans with the needs of customers while remaining committed to developing designs that reflect the cultural heritage of Bangladesh.
We're delighted to offer you an extraordinary collection of handmade products created by Prokritee women artisans. We know you will love them just as much as we do!
Image Courtesy of Prokritee
No other textile print has quite the look or appeal of traditionally handmade woodblock prints. From start to finish, this age-old craft is truly done by hand, which results in prints that are stunningly unique. The process has remained relatively unchanged since antiquity—fragments of block printed cloth uncovered from the ancient Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjo-daro date back as far as 2600 BCE. Throughout centuries, woodblock printing as an art form has passed between generations, and no other textile printing method so closely shows a connection to human hands and creativity.
The first step in making a block print is to prepare the wood block itself. Traditionally, a piece of teak wood is soaked in oil for 10 to 15 days to soften the grain, making it less likely to splinter. Then, the artist draws or transfers a design onto the block and begins to cut away any sections of the wood he or she does not want to receive ink in the final printing process. The result is a kind of relief carving, typically intricate, floral and strikingly beautiful in design. Simply the blocks themselves are so breathtaking that they are pieces of art in their own right, worthy of a place of prominence in your home—like our Block Print Hooks.
After the blocks have been prepared, the artisan prepares their workspace, which is usually a large wooden or stone tabletop covered with a thick, woolen printer's blanket. The softness and elasticity of the blanket allows the wood block to settle into the fabric, giving a better chance for a full, complete impression at every go. Once the fabric has been placed on the tabletop, it is meticulously measured to ensure consistent placement of each woodblock impression. Then, the carved design is thoroughly coated with all-natural dyes, traditionally vegetable- and mineral-based, by placing the wood block twice, in two different directions, into the dye, which is held in a special tray called a color sieve. The final step of the printing is to carefully place the block, then strongly strike it with a wooden mallet to leave a rich, bright print. Each impression of the wood block pattern on the fabric is performed twice—the artisans line up the wood block precisely in the same spot for the second print.
The results of this incredibly long, complex and meticulous process are simply unrivaled. The presence of the artist is undeniable, as every burst of color reflects hours of handmade dedication, work and love. We can't get enough of block prints—we love their connection to the craftsman and to cultural history—and we know you'll find something to delight in in our vast, stunning collection of block prints over at VivaTerra.