All around the world, people's lives are connected to animals. From prehistory to the present, stories and art depict these relationships, painted on cave walls, carved in bone, wood or stone, molded out of clay or wax, fashioned from fibers and woven from cloth into textiles.

At Crossroads Trade, we've gathered whimsical, exuberant, ingenious critters of many species and every conceivable medium from five continents.

Brought into the US by a fair trade wholesaler, our recycled flip flop critters are made by a Kenyan project, where hundreds of thousands of flip flops wash up on endangered turtle nesting grounds. Women are paid to pick up discarded flip flops from beaches, preserving the nesting grounds and building an eco-tourism industry, as well as creating employment.

The Peruvian gourd cow ornaments are burned and decoratively incised in a village entirely devoted to gourd products. They are brought to US by a fair trader who provides medical insurance for his employees.

Our beaded elephants come from a project in Durban, South Africa. The project runs an orphanage for children of AIDS victims, which is funded through sales of their beadwork. Also from South Africa are the Cape Town dogs made with recycled plastic from the remnants of parade floats.

Our palm fiber animals from the Philippines are startlingly realistic. Artisans twist shredded fiber around a wire, and snip the critters into shape. This company, begun by a couple seeking to make items made from local materials, now employs 400.

Artisans everywhere craft creations from scrap metal. Our Vietnamese dragons are former bicycle chains. A Haitian cooperative sculpts geckos from steel drums. Five brothers from Zimbabwe make critters of many species from tin cans.

Crossroads Trade's selection changes constantly, as artisans envision new possibilities. Please come back often to see our newest finds!

Crossroads Trade wants your feedback and ideas. Your purchase will make a substantial difference in the life of an artisan. Please contact phone at 617-975-2001 or by email if you would like to see more examples, have any questions, or would like more information.

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folk transport