5 Ethical Home Décor Ideas To Brighten Up Your Home This 2021
The many artistic expressions of Latin America could always integrate into other cultures. Moreover, they had survived the passing of time.
During the colonial period, European empires dominated indigenous peoples and their cosmovision. Native manifestations of creativity were replaced by what Eurocentric ideas imposed. While many practices of spiritual significance got lost in this violent process, a significant number remained. The Mayan and Aztec traditions of Mexico, the Mapuche heritage of Argentina and Chile, the Quechua practices of Peru—all these cultures remain alive by their people and their identity.
Though indigenous temples and sculptures have the grandeur of what each culture had to offer in artistry, most of what they produced was small-scale. Age-old practices like weaving, wood-carving, and pottery-making were well-known among the entire sub-continent. They not only served to meet a necessity— they were vessels to show immense creativity. Colonial houses had strong European influences, but their insides stored their true essence. Warm colors, rustic elements, motifs embedded into fabrics and walls— this is Latin America at its finest.
Many artists, designers, and artisans worldwide have decided to learn from these sub-continents’ humble makers. Reciprocity has begun to form between creators from different backgrounds—and we should celebrate this! Let’s set foot into the new year by giving our home a new look with what we can learn from all these cultures.
We decided to choose five brands that create pieces of home décor alongside Latin American artisans. Each brand gives what they receive— ancestral heritage meets a contemporary scenario.
This project started as a way to honor the weaving traditions of the Wayuu people of South America. The Wayuu are an indigenous group of the Guajira Peninsula, located in the North of Colombia and Venezuela. Their creators— Katherine (Colombian) and Charlotte (French)— sought to tell their astounding story. Inspired by their heritage, they decided to create home textile items alongside Wayuu artisans.
Cecilia Acosta, an artisan leader from the ancestral territory El Paraiso, is one of the many weavers that crafts into reality the designs of Tribu Atelier. Through home textiles, cushion covers, and baskets, both the designers and weavers express a tale beyond words.
The works of Nelika are playful odes to life and traveling. After being an artisan most of her life, Nelly Kempf— an ex-pat from France living in Yucatan, Mexico— took it upon herself to create something unique. Inspired by her cultural and social experiences, this artisan started to make wood wall decorations.
All products are wood-carved, and their concepts are sweet and spontaneous— animals and faces painted in colorful palettes. The clean lines of each design are modern and give them character. Yet, the rustic materials and bold colors are a wink to the artistic spirit of Latin America.
From the depths of the Peten Jungle in Guatemala, this company crafts home objects with sustainable wood. Behind the project are Suzanne and Eliza—a mother-daughter team from Philadelphia. The family had a long history of connecting with the natives of the region, as they founded a school for the Itza children more than 20 years ago.
As they were conscious of the needs of this community, they decided to take action once more. Guatemala has an ancestral tradition of wood-carving, thanks to its tropical woods. By creating job opportunities for native artisans to craft timber, Itza Wood contributes to this talented population’s local economy.
Luna Zorro Studio
This textile studio has a Guatemalan heart and soul. Molly Berry, a self-taught designer from San Francisco, is the creator of this workshop to unite her modern vision with traditional weaving techniques. Luna Zorro offers a wide array of handmade textiles for home decor.
The makers of the designs are Mayan artisans from Antigua, a city surrounded by volcanoes. The weaving process— which consists of the use of a wooden Foot Loom— is complex and fascinating, making it an authentic art form. The studio also offers public workshops to impart knowledge on natural textile dyeing.
The most precious heritages of a region are intangible, which explains the brands’ name and its love for the people that help make their designs real. Patrimonio Inmaterial seeks to promote Mexican artisanal products. Its creators—Ariane and Jonathan— are a French-Mexican couple with a vision of collective creativity.
Alongside talented Mexican artisans, they design a great range of handcrafted home products. While they may look appealing to the modern eye, their essence is as local as their makers. From gorgeous Milagros made out of tinplate to hammocks and pillows, they aim to give you a little piece of Mexicos’ heart.
These new ways to keep traditions alive teach us a valuable lesson. The legacy of Latin America is vast, but most of it remains unknown to many. Holding a piece of this region in your home is preserving the heritage of many communities that deserve recognition.