i + D - November/December 2020 - 32

Global Citizens - By Diana Mosher

Trade in the
Time of COVID
Global trade has, of course, not been left out
of the pandemic's wrath. But, artisan communities
around the world are doing their best to adjust their
own behavior and work with shipping restrictions
and hold-ups to maintain their livelihood.
Fortunately for Native Trails, the first order
for the Murano Collection shipped before Italy's
shutdown began and shipping issues that did
result have since been resolved. In Nepal as well,
where Gardner does business, there have been
multiple shutdowns of a few weeks each and
travel within the country has seen restrictions
but, the company has worked with the changes
and, at press time, exporting from the region
had resumed.
Carpenter notes, " The hardest thing for artisans
in rural communities is that when they don't work,
they often don't eat. We have certainly faced
challenges for those who would ordinarily have to
come together to work and we have seen shifts
in the rise of cottage communities where they
have to work from home. Access to materials is
often difficult if they are not allowed to go out
and no one can bring them in. "

But, these communities are finding pathways to
dealing with the unprecedented factors 2020 has
dealt. " We have seen some wonderfully clever
and agile stories of innovative artisans overcoming
some of these challenges, " Carpenter says,
adding that as spending has slowed in prosperous
nations, artisans have shifted focus to local
markets and into the production of masks and
other products currently in demand.
As the world comes together with the common
goal to eradicate COVID, specifying handmade
items from global artisans can build connections
to our shared humanity and interest and prosperity
that will persist in years to come. It's a meaningful
connection to a culture other than one's own and
a respect for time-honored craft traditions that,
if supported, can continue to be passed down
through generations.

DIANA MOSHER, Allied ASID,
is a New York-based interior designer and
media consultant. She was the 2017-2019
communications director for the ASID
New York Metro chapter and continues to be
active on the communications committee.

Native Trails looks
to preserve artisan
heritage by making
their goods available
to a wider audience.
(Image: Native Trails)

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i + D - November/December 2020

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