Showcasing the work of craftspeople from around the globe and helping to preserve vanishing artisanal traditions is the modus operandi of colourful e-store Dara Artisans. Founded by former media executives Dara and Dan Brewster, the site was inspired by the couple’s extensive travels, from the peaks of Peru to the Place Vendôme, and is now based out of New York City stocking hard-to-find interiors and fashion covetables by under-the-radar international artisans – from chopping boards ($85-$175) made in Ohio to indigo textiles ($750) hand-dyed in Mali, West Africa.
A key feature of the stylishly presented site is the stories behind each product: designer biographies and insights into the creative process bring to life each of the pieces and imbue the whole with warmth and character. Many of the items for sale have philanthropic clout, teaching artisanal skills in poverty-stricken communities: Animana’s baby-alpaca throws ($199, second picture) in vibrant orange and charcoal enlist the skills of trainee Andean weavers in Patagonia, for example; Tintsaba’s elegant sisal baskets (from $40, third picture) are created as part of a women’s training project in Swaziland; while M Patmos’s exquisitely fine cashmere shawls ($395) in icy shades of blue are the output of artisan apprentices in Bolivia.
But, stories aside, there’s much to tempt on looks alone – from kitchen essentials to jewellery-box trinkets. Rough-hewn cedar cutting boards ($210, first picture) by Los Angeles artist Cliff Spencer bring the outdoors in, while knives (from $179, fourth picture) by NHB Knifeworks have gorgeously original colour-infused handles. Semiprecious jewels include chic moonstone and citrine necklaces ($410), multibeaded strands ($1,274) of eye-catching aqua, labradorite, blue topaz and gold, and an unusual grey pearl necklace ($2,325) by Lena Skadegard. Also head-turning are decorative vessels ($200) by Materia Lumina and cerulean-blue bowls ($75) by New York City’s Jim Franco.
For those in search of niche designs by little-known artisans, this is an e-shop to bookmark.