Looking for eco-friendly gifts that come with their own adventurous stories? Bring the beauty of natural materials, artisan craftsmanship, and contemporary design into your living space with Arcadia Home. From handmade reverse-painted mirror boxes to adorable hand-felted pet décor, you’ll find heirloom pieces for any occasion.
Although it’s based out of Brooklyn, New York, the company’s items are handcrafted by artisans across the globe, most of them living in India and Peru. With designs created from sheep and alpaca wool, hand-painted glass, and hand-loomed cotton, Arcadia Home sources sustainably with its artisans specializing in their craft.
After exploring the globe, traveler Dawn Kikel founded the business in 2001. Captivated by the artisan-made goods she discovered during her journey, she wanted to be involved in the world of handmade items. The result was the creation of Arcadia Home, a company passionate about craft designs.
Looking to History for Inspiration
The careful work that’s put into making each product is the heartbeat of the company. When it comes to designing wool, the material is processed into felt by hand rather than by machine. According to Kikel, hand-felted wool is thick and heavy-weight, making it durable and long-lasting, with a homespun texture and visible fibers. Hand-felting is the most traditional method of processing wool into felt and most importantly, the technique is eco-friendly.
Arcadia Home’s felt designs are created by a group of artisans in India’s Rajasthan state. Not long ago, the art of felt-making began to die out when inexpensive Chinese rugs proliferated the market. Many artisans began to seek other occupations in urban areas away from their villages, homes, and families. Fortunately, a small group of artisans continued to preserve the knowledge and the tradition of felt making. By partnering with Arcadia Home, an entire new income stream for these artisans was established, and it continues today. A fresh generation of artisans is now being trained in the art of hand-felting wool.
Behind the Scenes
Picture this: sheep grazing under clear skies and open land for as far as the eye can see, their wool soft and puffy. This is what surrounds Arcadia Home’s facility, where its felt designs are made using traditional knowledge and sustainable technology. The facility harvests rainwater, generates solar power, processes drinking water via reverse osmosis, and recycles water to support green belts. The entire felt-making process is optimized to create hand-felted wool in the most eco-friendly ways while supporting the community. Once the felt has been pressed into long pieces, it’s colored using low-impact, azo-free dyes. It’s then ready for the artisans to cut and sew it into something meaningful.
If that’s not impressive enough, Arcadia Home also offers reverse-painted mirror boxes and trays created by Peruvian artisans under fair-trade principles. The artists paint on the undersides of the glass so when the mirror is flipped, the design shows through. Spending careful time on each piece, this skill is truly an art form.
Alpacas are Kind of a Big Deal
When it comes to the wool used in its products, Arcadia Home relies heavily on the alpacas of Peru. Not only is alpaca a luxurious fiber, but it also provides farmers with a steady income. Fortunately, the animals’ two-toed feet are soft pads protected on the top and sides by toenails. So, unlike hooves, they leave the terrain undamaged. As they graze, they only eat the top of the grass rather than uprooting it as many other animals do. This means the fields they feed in are maintained and can be used for other purposes, such as planting crops.
Arcadia Home’s cotton designs are made using techniques passed down through generations. When you purchase an item for a loved one or for yourself, you’re making a positive difference in the lives of others, and for the planet. From table runners to reverse-painted mirror boxes, you can purchase gifts you’ll feel good about.