Looking for a travel escape but can’t get seem to get out this fall? No need to look far if you’re in Denver, Colorado, because the Tactile Arts Center‘s new display World Threads is just what you need to satisfy that wanderlust. Collections in this exhibit feature countries from all over from Vietnam to Guatemala to Africa. Each organization participating in this event supports impoverished artisans by selling their handicrafts and providing access to the world market. Among the jewelry, accessories, and clothing, I found myself eagerly exploring the opportunities to delight in traditional ethnic crafts while making my way through the booths of colorful exhibits.
My attention was first caught by silk scarves woven in Vietnam by Happy Family, a company who operates under Fair Trade Federation regulations and empowers women living in poverty. Looking at the ombré colors of reds, greens, and blues, my mind wandered towards the craftsmanship as I envisioned a woman working with the thin threads. My fascination with weaving became even more evident as my eyes followed the beautifully woven baskets by Namibian artisans from Woven Promises, a Fair Trade Federation organization that partners with weavers from Ethiopia and Namibia. Watching the deep mahogany and cream colors swirl within the circular basket, I became entranced by its beauty. All I could imagine was a pair of hands molding the straw into a work of art.
Making my way to a table of jewelry and ornaments from Outreach Uganda, I looked through the display of paper beads, laboriously deciding which set of loose beads I wanted for my own jewelry-making purposes. Finally deciding on a blue and orange set for a future Denver Broncos post, I made my way to set a of purses from Bridging Hope, a non-profit organization that helps provide job opportunities and healthcare to physically disadvantage women and children. Their display had everything from embroidery to beadwork. Brightly colored with quality craftsmanship, I can see my sister smiling if she received their purse and would feel as much happiness as an artisan receiving support and hope for a better future. Perhaps I’m too idealistic, but as I travel more and explore new outlets of work, I have discovered my actions don’t make much sense without meaning. I want to travel for adventure, experience new cultures, and discover hidden treasures, but I also find traveling with purpose is even more memorable and meaningful. And, of you can’t travel with purpose right now, visit World Threads at the Tactile Arts Center to see how your purchase can make a difference for you and the artisan behind the art.
World Threads IV, thru November 30th
Tactile Arts Center, 1307 Bannock Street, Denver, CO, Hours: Wed.-Sat. Noon-5pm, Sunday Noon-4pm