Handcrafted Traditions with a Modern Aesthetic, Inspired by Culture and Supporting Global Artisans

Even as a child, I have always been fascinated by other cultures; different ways that people create a home, a community, and add beauty to their world. As an adult, I took this passionate interest and channeled it into an academic career in cultural anthropology. All the while, in my personal life crafting, creating, making things with my hands has always been a source of creative expression, a way to unwind, and even a reason to gather with crafty friends.

It wasn’t until I had my daughter and I embarked into a world of craft kits and creative exploration for children that I began to envision a line of craft kits for adults that places an emphasis on the cultural origins of craft. I gradually realized there was something missing from the marketplace: craft kits that explain how the things we make are connected to our human origins. We are all descended from a long line of talented makers! This realization is where my background in anthropology intersected with my love of craft.

I am particularly interested in crafts that connect us to our ancestral heritage. For example, weaving is a technique used for making things such as fencing, fishing nets, sandals, baskets, and textiles for hundreds of generations in nearly every culture around the globe. Similarly, textile printing techniques also have ancient roots in many cultures throughout the world. In India, block printing has been used to embellish fabric for at least 3,000 years. Folkways Culture Kits allow you to gain insight into ancient skills, using quality materials, so you can create your own designs and express your unique creativity.

I am inspired by craft traditions and ancient techniques that can be distilled down into simple designs and concise palettes that nourish a modern aesthetic. I have been particularly inspired by my travels to places such as Morocco and Mexico and research about folks from Tanzania, Rajasthan, India and beyond. I firmly believe that both craft and culture are living and dynamic. I am entranced by the beauty and skills of traditional craft but I am also inspired by modern interpretations of traditional design.

It is also very important to me that while learning about other cultures there is an opportunity to give back; this process of learning and making is an exchange. In this spirit of exchange, Folkways Craft Kits partners with Nest, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the global handworker economy, the well-being of women artisans, and the preservation of cultural traditions around the world. Each month we choose to donate a percentage of our sales to Nest’s programming. Your craft kit purchases directly supports indigenous artisans around the world.

 -Jennifer