Natural Materials

Our artisans see thread, dyestuffs, medicine, roofing materials in what we might see as just a leaf. From rock to root, from wood to whiskers, people worldwide have evolved infinite uses for the natural materials they find in their daily surroundings. It's seasonal: in Alaska, spruce trees send out runners in April, used for thread. It's meticulous; in Uganda, artisans delicately, painstakingly, unwind the frond of the raffia palm to make thread.

Hard or soft, rigid or flexible, artisans bend, wind, grind, pound, spin, weave, combine and cook. One of Kate's favorite moments was in the village of Chinchero, Peru. The women had made a mistake in combining dyestuffs the previous week, and the result had been a fabulous purple. This week, the women were trying to figure out what on earth they had done so they could replicate it. In a day full of laughter, they were integrating new knowledge into their traditional ethnic ars.

Crossroads Trade's natural products are made with an amazing array of materials: lokta root, saa, sisal, clay, soapstone, gut, shell, bone, wood, seeds, nuts, palm, bark, antlers, resin and cactus are some. Our stock is always changing; seasons, drought, environmental degradation all affect materials at hand.

We provide information about how our products are made on the shopping pages, along with what's currently available. Your purchases will feed families and enable artisans to earn a livelihood from their traditional ethnic arts.

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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