ARTISAN, What Does It Mean?
Deriving from the Italian word, ‘artigiano’ meaning craftsman, the word ‘artisan’ has grown in popularity over the years, usually referring to something that is handmade.
While handmade items can often be higher in price than mass produced goods, we don't always consider where that piece of jewellery has come from, the time and craftsmanship required to create that product nor the impact that it has on the community in which it was made.
It’s Not Just Jewellery, It’s A Lifeline
Supporting craftsmanship means keeping native history and cultural traditions alive; it also encourages community development. Working in crafts-based production such as the artisan sector has shown to be a lifeline for the vulnerable, especially women. In communities where education is not accessible for women, often forbidden, they rely on their craft to find agency.
“The artisan sector creates peace, it signals to women that they are significant, and it helps people find belonging in their own communities and economic sectors around the world,” said Courtney Martin (author of The New Better Off)
When it comes to artisanship, we must think about the woman who has survived war and genocide to find her place in society, the woman who has survived oppression and abuse who is now living with a sense of pride and achievement, or the orphaned girl who can use the skills her mother taught her to feed her younger brother and sister. When we take a deeper look into the communities around the world, artisanship can transform the perception of refugees and vulnerable communities by being accepted as a contributor to the society they have adopted.
What Could Your Role In This Impact Be?
By spending a little extra time to delve into the practices of a brand, you can contribute to the sustainability efforts of a community; supporting women who use their skills to generate an income and encourage social cohesion. Get to know your favourite brands and learn more about how their products are made and where they derive from. This will allow you to make more conscious decisions over the products you choose to buy and the craftsmanship you choose to support. Your future purchases can be worn with a deeper sense of pride.
Get to know some of the artisan communities we support here at Protsaah and discover the journey our pieces go on from initial design to its craft.