Studio Visit: Sidai Designs, Tanzania

Handmade jewelry that creates opportunities for Maasai women

Just north of Arusha, Tanzania‘s historic Clock Tower, the jewelry workshop of Sidai Designs is tucked behind gates of their headquarters. In the garden, Maasai women sit under the trees hand-pulling pieces of recycled grain sack to twist into thread. They meticulously stitch glass beads one by one onto soft leather bracelets and necklaces. Dressed in colorful traditional clothes, the women hum as they work, often …

How Empowerment Became a Purchasable Product

Originally used by social workers to encourage marginalized communities to rise up from poverty and oppression, the term “empowerment” has taken on completely different definitions in recent years. It’s been transformed into a mass-marketing tactic—especially when pertaining to women—flaunted by corporations (like the #StrengthHasNoGender campaign from Brawny paper towels, a company owned by Koch Brothers who have spent millions funding anti-abortion programs) with the sole …

Colectivo 1050° Ceramics

An industrial designer’s mission to save Mexico's traditional clay-making process arms and empowers Oaxacan artisans

“For designers, problems are possibilities: the source for innovation,” says Kythzia Barrera. The problem? The rapid disappearance of Oaxacan pottery workshops and with it, the eradication of traditional Mexican clay-making processes that stem back more than 3,000 years. The determined industrial designer has been working tirelessly for over 10 years to create a legitimate place for artisanal Mexican crafts within our globalized economy, and the …