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Cultural Connections was established in 1999 to market hand crafted goods produced by poor artisans in developing countries, and to help them break the cycle of poverty and improve their livelihoods. We purchased from them crafts representing their unique cultures and marketed them through our retail store in Upstate NY. Currently, we wholesale as well as retail beautiful, unique and authentic handcrafted clothing, jewellery, handbags, baskets, traditional musical instruments, and household and gift items from a growing number of artisans in developing countries.

Some of our products originate in Ethiopia. We are proud to introduce them because Ethiopia has a unique craft tradition. The 'shema', which is the national cloth, is still woven by using traditional hand crafted looms. This 100% cotton cloth is often worn by men and women in the same way, as it was four thousand years ago during the time of the Queen of Sheba . Women are adorned in gold and silver still hand made by using the 'lost wax process'. Although there are few Felashas left in Ethiopia today, their unique pottery is still a common utensil in Ethiopian kitchens. We also have a special attachment to West Africa where we spent almost ten years and where we have grown to love bright colours and beautiful sculptures. In Asia we learned to appreciate the perseverance of crafters when we watch how much patience and how many hours are spent to weave a piece of silk material!

Because we worked and lived in different countries for over 20 years we are proud to introduce these items to the American market. In doing so, we hope that local artisans are encouraged to continue producing crafts representative for their unique culture and traditions, and we are able to present to our customers authentic, natural materials that are expertly hand crafted.

-- P. S. B.      

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