About Our Artisans
Thumbprint Gallery supports artisans from around the world. This support helps to provide sustainable employment, skill sets, and hope to people who, if not for this role, would be living in poverty. Each purchase ‘makes a difference’! While we have many different tales to tell, here are a few stories of the hands that make our uniquely beautiful products.....
KAPULA CANDLES & CERAMICS
This family business trains their artisans to make wonderful handcrafted candles and ceramics. The business began to help employ the local women of the community, many of whom are single mothers. Today 90% of their employees are women who are trained to make these beautiful products, which in turn provides them with sustainable employment and the ability to take care of themselves, their family and contribute to their community. Using traditional methods, these handcrafted candles and ceramics are hand poured and hand painted, making each piece a work of art! Kapula is a proud guaranteed member of the World Fair Trade Organization, WFTO.
BIN MINH HANDMADE SCARVES
These silky soft, gorgeous scarves are made in a small collective in Northern Vietnam, just a few miles from the South China Sea. Binh Minh means 'morning sun' in Vietnamese, and from the door of this workshop is a spectacular vantage point from which to welcome the sun each and every morning. It is here the collective of 20 families operates 25 looms and can weave up to 5,000 shawls and scarves a month. Binh Minh uses only local Vietnamese raised silk in all of its hand-spun yarns.
Godfrey started his creative career 16 years ago making animals and cars out of coke cans. Originally from Zimbabwe, he now has a small team that work with him in his workshop located just outside Cape Town. Here he designs and makes a range of character African animals out of recycled metal, tin, wire and beads – each screaming with personality! We also have a selection of his small cars & airplanes, amazing how he can turn old tin cans and bottle tops into creative collectibles!
BeadWORKS aims to empower women and diversify family income in Northern Kenya, reducing reliance on livestock and natural resources. The program is part of Northern Rangelands Trust and partners with established women’s groups in conservancies, training them on bead craftsmanship, product development, and basic marketing and accounting skills. There are over 1,200 women involved in the program.
Since 2012, Mutual Adoration has been producing their beautiful products using reclaimed wood from homes and abandoned buildings in Detroit, Michigan. The transformation process is labor intensive taking far longer than driving down to the lumber yard or home improvement store! Each piece of wood needs to be processed - pull nails, remove old paint, measure, cut, shape, drum sand, paint, sand again, stain, and oil each one. Why does the team at MA do this? Not only because they care about reusing and recycling materials, but because this wood is not available today. It’s from old growth trees. It’s denser, heavier, stronger and has a feel, a look, and a natural iridescence – so enjoy these truly special candle holders that they make exclusively for Thumbprint Gallery!
Founders of Bandits, Nicole and Connor Humphreys, traveled the globe to find the perfect blend of sustainably-sourced, 100% Organic Cotton. They searched and sampled countless manufacturers to find an incredible Fair Trade certified partner in Kolkata, India, and searched for the most artistic talents in the world to create these amazing bandana designs. Most importantly, these bandanas also give back. 10% of sales goes to charities chosen by the design artists!
KORK FIBER ART GROUP
Gulnara Kyrdyrmyshova started “Kork, Fiber Art Group” to provide local artists
an outlet to sell their work and for over 24 years has been providing artists in Kyrgyzstan with a place to promote their felt works and selection of ‘Zooties’, whimsy animal character felt booties for babies and young children. Many of these artisans are women who provide the primary source of income for their families. The Group has helped to keep the tradition of felting alive during times of severe poverty and economic depression.
The team of talented artisans, most of whom are single mothers, who make these unique ceramics were taught their skills during a job creation course in craft production. Once the group had qualified, their instructor, Toni Burton, resisted sending them back to a struggling life in their local township. So with a talented, loyal team and a great product, Toni established the products in the marketplace. The signature product is the UBUNTU BOWL, an African Friendship Bowl. The female figures hold hands around the rim of a hand-thrown bowl, in a spirit of unity, with their babies on their backs.
In 1907, Himelhoch's opened their first store in Detroit. Today the fourth-generation family is happy to continue to serve Detroit lovers by offering distinctive collections that represent the BEST of Detroit. Being coffee lovers, they introduce their Certified Organic, Fair Trade Coffees! Picked with the greatest care from coffee trees in the mountainous tropics, the elegance of the coffees is attributed to the deeply devoted farmers who masterfully nurture the harvest. The artisanal roasters awaken a tapestry of flavors, creating a delightfully rich, epicurean experience. Selecting Fair Trade certified coffees helps farming families improve their lives.
SoyLites workshop is located just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Colin Skelton, Founder, and the small team of women from the neighboring township take pride in making eco-authentic products that your skin will love, while engaging your mind & body. Made with cosmetic grade soy wax, the body candles are both long lasting aromatherapy candles & non-greasy moisturizing products for your skin. All candles are made with vegetable oils and are free of additives, chemicals, preservatives or petroleum derivatives. No raw materials are used that contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon. The soy is guaranteed to contain no genetically modified materials.
Hand made in Detroit, Michigan, the beautiful body butter made by ILERA Apothecary includes “Okwuma”, the Igbo term for Shea Butter. Shea butter is a natural plant grown in the ‘Shea Belt’ of Central Africa. This simple ingredient has been used for many generations, keeping the Igbo ancestor’s skin soft, vibrant and youthful. Each product and scent are formulated in-house by the ILERA Apothecary team who are committed to making an impact on their customers, employees and local communities, including the women who handpick the raw materials and the employees who manufacture their products.
....AND THERE IS LOTS MORE!
COME SEE OUR SELECTION OF FAIR TRADE HAND CRAFTED PRODUCTS SOON!