Voyage's aim is to improve the livelihoods of underprivileged people in developing countries and to keep alive traditional skills that otherwise might be lost by selling unique ethical gifts. Fair trade ensures that workers have a proper wage, good working conditions and are able to have a better quality of life.
Voyage Fair Trade online shop sells:
One of Voyage’s aims is to keep alive traditional skills that might otherwise be lost. Knowing that you are buying a unique handmade product is very gratifying, whether it’s a gift for someone or you are treating yourself. If it’s a gift, it’s always has more meaning if more thought has been put into the present buying. If it’s for you, then you have an item you can treasure. Our hand crafted products stand out as being very special: they demonstrate the skills that often have been handed down through the generations. At Voyage we have wooden statues and ornaments, soapstone products,bags and purses from recycled and eco-friendly materials, recycled items from bike parts, jewellery, driftwood mirrors, scarves, recycled vehicle models: all handmade by talented, skilful artisans.
Voyage’s wooden statues and ornaments are carved in Bali by a variety of artisans. The expertise of Bali’s wood carvers is amazing: it is skill that has been passed down through the generations. Often in family groups, usually brothers and fathers, the wood carvers of Bali produce stunning carvings. They produce a wide range of products, among them: teak root tables, wonderful detailed dragons, comical cats and happy Buddhas. Often each wood carver has a speciality in a certain area of carving; for example, one of our favourites is Dekca who specialises in bird carvings. He works with a diverse range of woods, including suar and parasite wood. Dekca’s bird carvings from parasite wood are particularly intriguing as when carving mushroom-like shapes created in the tree are exposed. Suar wood is a smooth heavy tropical hardwood which is sustainable as it is fast-growing: it is used to give a tactile smooth and glossy sculptured surface. The suar tree is also known as the rain tree and has criss-crossed interlocking grain which keeps the wood from drying out and cracking when moved to a drier climate. We have some great Buddha statues made from this wood by the wood carver Nyoman. Nyoman also uses wood from the jempinis tree (also known as chinaberry): it’s a member of the mahogany family, native to south-east Asia. Have a look at the great bottle holders Nyoman and his team carve from this wood! For the wonderfully intricate dragons, Nyoman uses crocodile wood (also known as satin wood). Its relatively hard and very smooth ivory-like appearance makes it ideal for detailed carving. A very distinctive wood is waru wood (also known as hibiscus): with its white and grey/brown shades it results in some intriguing two-tone carvings, in particular the owls that Nyoman also carves. Albesia wood (or belalu wood) is suited for a different type of product. Albesia is a white soft wood and light in weight. It is less expensive than other woods and highly suitable for painting so it is used for the comical cats that Boby and his team make.
Soapstone is a soft metamorphic rock that can be hand-sculptured into an exciting range of gift items and has been used for carving for thousands of years. Softer grades may feel slightly soapy, hence the name. Its natural colour depends on the minerals present and ranges from light cream to black. Soapstone is found in many countries, including Brazil, United States and China.Some of Voyage’s soapstone products come from the Kisii area of Kenya. They are carved by skilfully artisans employed by the Kisac Co-operative which is a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation. Half of the revenue goes directly to the artisans who make the products and a percentage of all sales is put aside for social programmes in the Kisii area. The Kisii artisans traditionally carve elephants, zebras and other African wildlife, but now also carve some intriguing abstract ornaments. We also stocks their red love hearts, animal bookends and decorated vases.
In addition, we sells soapstone products from India. We have a wide range of book ends made from soapstone: it is heavy and ideal for supporting books. Artisans working for the organisation Tara carve lovely tactile cat, elephant and fish bookends. The soapstone they use is gorara stone which has a beautiful mottled effect resembling marble.
We love eco-friendly and recycled products and we hope you do too! Some of our favourite recycled items amongst the ones we sell are those made from bike parts. Artisans employed by the organisation Noah’s Ark in India use bike chains and bike parts to create fabulous photo frames, bottle openers, tea-light holders, bracelets and even dinosaur models! These make great gifts, especially for a cyclist. Voyage sells unique bowls and lanterns also made by Noah’s Ark’s artisans from discarded metal in the city of Moradabad. Some of our best sellers are the recycled vehicle models made by skilled workers employed by Bezalila in Madagascar. These models are made from tin cans (often drink cans as they are more flexible) and are extremely detailed. This crafting of models from tin cans is called ‘Kapoaka’ in Madagascar and we are pleased to stock a wide range.
Apart from recycled metal, Voyage has bags made from recycled fabrics, as far apart as saris and cement sacks! The recycled sari bags are hand sewn in India by skilful artisans working for the organisation Aspirations and are quite beautiful. The cement sack bags are from Cambodia where home-based workers near Phnom Penh stitch the bags and purses from sacks collected by local farmers. They also use fish feed bags to create these great accessories: choose from bright pink, blue or green. In addition, Voyage has a selection of unique bags hand stitched from a variety of recycled fabrics. These bags are made by workers at Karm Marg, a community home for more than fifty street children near Delhi. Production of these recycled accessories supports the education and welfare of the children.
We have some other great recycled products: clocks made from computer motherboards, and articles made from keyboards and coloured pencils.
Talking about coloured pencils…Voyage also has earrings made from coloured pencils! The pencils are factory rejects and collected from a small town 200km from Delhi. Artisans working for the Aspiration then use the pencils to create quirky hook earrings. We try to stock jewellery that is unusual and a bit different from what you might see in traditional jewellers. We have earrings made from paper, necklaces from coconut and bracelets from tagua nut. Our tagua jewellery comes from Ecuador. Tagua nut is a palm tree seed and artisans working for the organisation Tagualand hand craft this pretty jewellery. The process needed for this is quite a long one: the nuts firstly need to dry out for about six months, and then they are shaped and dyed in gorgeous colours.
All of our products are handmade with care, love and attention. Each item is unique and not mass produced, and certainly not the typical product you would see on the high street. The detail and skill involved is wonderful. The products are all made by artisans who work under strict fair trade guidelines and are paid a fair amount for their skilled work and creativity.
The World Fair Trade Organisation has set out ten principles that fair trade organisations must adhere to and it carries out regular monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld. At Voyage we take these ten principles very seriously and adopts them into its business ethics. To read more visit the Fairtrade Foundation or World Fair Organisation (WFTO)