Ethical Fair Trade artisans around the world
Dharma Door the incredible skills of female artisans in remote communities.
Dharma Door works with Fair Trade artisans around the world to create textural, natural homewares and accessories. From wall hangings & baskets to bags, each item is unique and ethical product.
The Dharma Door has been commissioning the incredible skills of female artisans in remote, rural communities since 2004. Our ultimate goal is to genuinely empower as many people as possible out of the cycle of poverty.
By working with not-for-profit NGOs on the ground which support the artisans, the company is keeping a close eye on what customers enjoy, and same time to the field leaders expressing request on the level of quality needed, eventually to develop an approach that honors both artisans and buyers.
“The more we trade, the more artisans we are able to provide sustainable work for.
Through this approach, we are able to achieve the greatest impact”
Shannon Sheedy, Founder
After more than a decade of operation, Shannon knows that the greatest impact made is by enabling others to make their own change. Consistent work translates to secure employment for artisans, which in turn provides financial security and the ability to educate families; access health care; and plan for the future. Dharma Door says this approach – rather than a charity mindset – that is the true meaning of fair trade.
As one of the first Australian businesses to be endorsed as a Fair Trader of Australia, Shannon has also always gone above and beyond local and international fair trade standards. Most of the not-for-profit NGOs the company partners with are members of the World Fair Trade Organization, so they regularly demonstrate how they meet, or are working towards, the globally-recognized Ten Principles of Fair Trade.
This is how Dharma Door works procedure:
It takes thousands of tiny twists, plaits and knots to turn beautiful natural fibres into finely woven rugs, homewares and accessories. Using both traditional and modern techniques, our artisans print, weave and sew every item by hand.
Plait & Twist process is made from long strands of jute for weaving rugs, baskets and tableware. And then,
Weave & Coil Jute expertlyto create baskets, placemats and rugs, forming strands into a small wooden frame to succeed right size and shape.
Macramé, as first introduced to artisan partners in 1970s; a recent resurgence as seen in wall hangings, bags and tableware.
Spin & Loom: Using age-old methods and skills that have been passed down through generations, artisans handloom beautiful textures and patterns with jute and cotton for our shoppers, totes, lining textiles and throws. Working from home, or in community weaving centres on traditional wooden looms, each new pattern can take days to set up before the intricate process begins – row by delicate row.
Dye: Ancient techniques using tannin mordants and indigo sourced from nature are skillfully practiced to achieve beautiful hues of blue, charcoal, brown and gold for the fibres in our baskets and bags.
Stitch: All of woven products including jute baskets, bowls and rugs are fixed and finished with hand stitching. Using a strong needle, and fine jute or cotton thread, artisans place tiny stitches through every layer to keep things securely in place.
Print: Practicing traditional screenprinting techniques, our cardboard swing tags, fabric pouches and hessian duos are all carefully printed by hand using AZO free dyes in a workshop in northern Bangladesh.
Sewing: These workshops are established in several of our artisan communities. Our shoppers and totes are carefully sewn in a workshop that supports women who have been rescued from prostitution. Leather handles for bags are stitched by a group of men who live with discrimination and disability. And fabric pouches are sewn by a large fair trade workshop that trains and employs women in a small community in northern Bangladesh.
Finish: From trimming loose fibres and threads to double-checking stitching, our artisans ensure quality throughout production, whilst still preserving the little flourishes that make our products distinctly handmade.
Jute, the golden thread as this is a vegetable firbre to craft the Dharma Door rugs and runners, after process free of chemicals and safe for artisans and buyers; Hemp, strong and versatile purposes natural fibre, grown without chemicals; Cotton, by hand loomed cotton material, handwoven in India, processed through complicated stages of combing, washing, dyeing, and hand-spinning; Wool. The Desai throw is crafted from wool from local desert sheep, chosen for its rugged texture and warmth.
These throws are just like the shawls used by nomadic Rabari tribes people, who wear them to stay warm during crisp, nocturnal desert crossings.
The epitome of slow, unhurried production, the fabric has been crafted by master weavers in the desert region of Kutch, India. Sheep are clipped; fibres are spun; and many hours of weaving undertaken; before the edges and tassels are finished to perfection.
Finally, Leather. Ever mindful of the damage and harm inflicted by leather tanneries, it has taken us a long time to source the right suppliers for some of the tags and handles of our woven products. To achieve the perfect shade, we only ever use natural vegetable dyes. Every Dharma Door handle and product tag is stamped, sewn or stitched in a leather workshop in Bangladesh that employs men who – without this opportunity – would be disadvantaged in their community.
The Kasba jute rugs to add a rustic touch in a modern space, handmade by fair trade artisans in remote, rural communities of Bangladesh, a contemporary patchwork that adds warmth, texture and character to any environment – an investment piece laden with meaningful making!
The Carly Bag in jute macrame techniques, the Captain’s Basket, practical and a piece of artistry indeed, by handcrafted knotted jute string on the outside, reminiscent of a fishing net, and lined it with hand loomed natural cotton canvas. Attached to a strong bamboo ring, the Captain Basket features a macrame loop for hanging and a length of twisted jute to loop over the hook, balancing the weight and ensuring you can fill this beauty to the brim.
The Mandala to offer as Dharma Door says The touch of Magic
Dharma Door Mandala Wall Hanging became a best seller the moment it was released. For almost two years the enthusiasm for this beautiful woven wall hanging has continued unabated. With its intricate twists and fine macrame technique, we like to think it has a touch of magic.
Shannon designed the Mandala after spotting macrame being practiced by one of the artisan groups we work with. An idea sprang to mind immediately, and she knew that her interpretation would be a hit.
View more: https://thedharmadoor.com.au/
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