DARA Artisans: Exploring the Enchanting Allure of Artisanal Decor

Aboubakar Fofana organically dyed blankets, throws and linens. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Indigo dyed textiles dance in the breeze. Dyed textiles crafted by Mali-born, Paris-raised artisan, Aboubakar Fofana. (Photo Credit: Gentl + Hyers .)

In distant and exotic Mali a vat of organic-based Indigo dye has been masterfully mixed using millennia-old recipes. Woven textiles immersed in the tinted broth emerge saturated in monochromatic hues of blue christened with names like “Milky Blue” a barely there blue to “Divine Blue” a blue so dark it’s nearly black.  While in the New York prop studio of an esteemed photographer, a potter’s wheel begins to give shape to clay caressed by hand into a soulful bowl.  Off in the mystical lands of Bolivia a textile artisan brings to life the vision of a Danish knitwear designer.

Master craftsmen and artisans separated by geographical and cultural boundaries may seem to have little in common, yet they all have one unmistakable bond that joins them.  Hand-crafting authentic objects infused with history-rich stories imbued with centuries old techniques passed on to them by their ancestors.  Now along with this creative bond, global artisans separated by lands and seas can find themselves and their wares side-by-side in an online boutique reminiscent of an exotic bazaar brimming with unique treasures. This virtual marketplace is DARA Artisans – an elegantly curated e-commerce platform stocked with beautiful, sustainable, and soulful hand-crafted objects created by global artisans.

Photographer and ceramics artist Jim Franco handcrafts evocative pottery. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Photographer and ceramics artist Jim Franco handcrafts evocative pottery. Jim shares, “When I hold one of my pieces, it just makes me happy.” Looking at his perfectly peaceful ceramic confections makes me happy as well.  (Photo Credit: Jim Franco.)

Founded by ex-media executives and passionate world travelers, Dan and Dara Brewster, this unique platform connects global artisans to consumers who may not have the opportunity to shop the artisans’ local markets, and helps preserve and encourage the practice of artisanal traditions and heritage while promoting economic growth that respects environmental stewardship and sustainability.

 Exotic tableware collection from Adhya Designs at DARA Artisans. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Contemporary style serving dishes and tableware crafted using ancient Indian artisan techniques by the craftsmen at Adhya Design. This striking tableware collection sits elegantly atop Lao Textiles’ exotic, hand-printed textiles and table linens graced with a variety of symbols including religious, cultural and nature-inspired. (Photo Credit: Anna Campbell.)

Named in part for Dara Brewster, DARA coincidentally translates into evocative, meaningful words in several languages. In Swahili, it is “beautiful one.” In Turkish, it is “leader.” In Hebrew, it is “compassion.” In Khmer, it is “star.” And each one of those words succinctly captures what I feel about this website which is a resplendent hybrid – part online souk, part travel magazine focused on the personal stories of the artisans and the artisanal charms of countries visited. DARA Artisans offers discerning design lovers an experience to virtually travel the globe discovering interesting artisans and their enchanting handmade housewares.

Disclosure:  All opinions expressed in this post are all my own.  This is a sponsored post/branded content for DARA Artisans. We appreciate the generous sponsorship of design brands that support the Decorating Diva blog and make it possible for me to bring you, our wonderful readers,  excellent design and lifestyle articles throughout the year.