It’s amazing how many skilled hands are involved in the making of each of our Pine Needle + Clay Vases! Take a look and learn more about where these beautiful pieces come from, and how they are making a difference in one rural Nicaraguan community.
It all starts in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua, where the ceramic bases are wheel thrown, sun-dried, fired in a wood-fueled kiln, and painted by artisans.
The vases then travel hundreds of miles to a women’s craft cooperative in Cusmapa, where pine needles are gathered and sewn together to complete these beautiful pieces.
The Cusmapa women’s cooperative was started in 1998 by a woman named Altagracia, who brought together women to bring hope and change to her community. The women started weaving baskets from the pine needles they sourced from the surrounding mountainous areas.
At first, the cooperative was met with skepticism and distrust from Cusmapa’s men. But over the years, with the support of several Nicaraguan non-profits, the cooperative has grown into a business that gives its members financial independence and empowers them to have a voice in their community.
Because of the Pine Needle + Clay Vase collection developed with west elm, men in Cusmapa are now helping with produciton for the first time ever and taking great pride in the cooperative as a whole, marking a great milestone in the cooperative’s journey.
Learn more about west elm’s handcrafted initiatives!