Early on in the Folkways development process, I spent lots of time and effort researching many different wholesale sources specializing in regional crafts produced according to fair trade principles. In fact, there are many excellent wholesalers of a wide array of items handcrafted by artisans around the globe. But I quickly realized that the pieces that Folkways would offer would be different.
Our regional collections feature unique objects that cannot be found through typical fair trade and global craft outlets. There was plenty of room in the marketplace to promote a different type of design aesthetic, one that upholds the idea that indigenous, handmade craft traditions can be modern and elegant. I knew that to manifest this vision I would develop personal relationships with artisan groups from specific cultures and regions.
The quest to find artisan partners first led me to Oaxaca, Mexico where I had the honor of observing the mastery of the ceramic artists associated with Colectivo 1050°. It was there that I fell in love with the matte yet luminous finish of barro negro (black clay) and the hand-formed appeal of the mezcal cups. I immediately knew that this item would set the design standard for future Folkways kits.