Piet Hein Eek is, quite simply, a design superstar. While he may not be a household name here in the UK, in Holland his work is the subject of museum exhibitions and huge critical acclaim. He's perhaps best known for his work with waste wood and other materials, turning what other people might see as junk into sleek, stylish designs.
He has recently completed a collaboration with Dutch interior design company Fair Forward. It is these pieces that form the centrepiece of the range we're stocking at Eighteen Rabbit. Working in partnership with Vietnamese potters, he has combined a contemporary form with traditional colours and patterns to produce a unique hybrid design which feels effortlessly modern while also keeping alive historic motifs and techniques.
Alongside these unique designs from Piet Hein Eek we have hand picked a selection of other cool designs from Fair Forward, including quirky ceramic origami birds, hip lemonade crockery and a statement pestle and mortar. We'll be expanding our range over the next few months so keep checking back to see more of these incredible pieces.
We've just received our new selection of Caña Flecha
products from Colombia. The clutch and bracelets are inspired by the traditional skills of
artisans throughout Colombia. Contemporary
combined with age-old
techniques, natural materials and sustainable methods of production
to ensure each product is truly exceptional.
CañaFlecha is a
type of palm, native
to Colombia; the CañaFlechais dyed with
fruits, vegetables, and plants. Once it is dried it
is hand-woven by artisans using traditional
Pre-Colombian techniques that combine indigenous and contemporary designs.
We're now stocking a selection of stunning copper vases and bowls from the Association of Craft Producers (ACP). ACP is a not for profit, fair trade organisation
providing support services
to low-income Nepalese craft producers. ACP is a resource to advance and
globally distribute their work, for which the producers receive fair wages and generous
In addition to fair wages, the consistent commitment from ACP and fair trade premium has empowered many of their female producers. For example, Nara Maya, a woman from eastern Nepal married young and never went to school. She struggled to sustain her family, until moving to Kathmandu and finding work with ACP. She is now trained in various skills and specialises in ceramics. ACP provide an allowance for her daughters to attend school. As ACP say: "Today Nara Maya possesses multi skills. She earns much more than her husband's earning. The fact that she is contributing to the bread basket has done wonders for her self confidence and she is now an independent and confident woman".
Nara Maya Rai & Ram Devi Mali who work with ACP
Using basic tools, ACP's producers from Palpa in Nepal create stunning works of
hand-hammered copper. The producers have branched out from making utensils,
storage pieces and jars to decorative items for the home, broadening their market and expanding their skills.
We're now halfway through Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual chance to celebrate the opportunities we have to buy fairly. There are great products available from a range of retailers, some of which (like coffee and tea) you'll be very familiar with, and others which are a bit more unusual. For some items it's easy to spot if they are fair trade - you can look for the Fairtrade logo when you're in the supermarket. For others, like a lot of the products we stock, it's more complicated. You may well ask why we don't insist that all of our products carry the Fairtrade logo, and we've tried to answer that here.
For us, the key criteria is transparency. The people you buy from should be open and honest about where their products come from, and should be able to answer questions you have about how the people who created them are remunerated and treated. We have a detailed list of standards we apply to the products we buy, and also have a questionnaire we send to all prospective suppliers.
We like to think this is going "beyond the logo" and building up a genuine, ongoing relationship with the artisans and craftspeople we are buying from. We have already visited some of our suppliers in person in Mexico and hope to meet more over the year ahead as time allows. Coming soon we have more exclusive lines from Argentina, Colombia and India. If you have any questions about any of the products we stock, please get in touch and we can tell you all we know.
We've been experimenting with videos to show more of what we're doing at Eighteen Rabbit. We hope to be able to bring you insights into the products we sell and the people who make them. Do you think video is a good way of sharing this information? Let us know! In the meantime, here's a short introduction...