Backstrap Loom

Used extensively in Central and South America, a backstrap loom is a simple, horizontal loom with two bars or sticks. One bar is attached to a fixed object and the second is attached to the weaver by a strap around the back. The weaver uses their body weight to tighten the loom.



Basket weaving is much more than an ancient skill; it’s a vibrant movement craft that weaves rural and urban communities together, providing a source of sustainable economic empowerment for artisans and bringing an authentic craft to the world. Basket making honors and preserve traditions that are passed from generation-to-generation and are as different as the many diverse cultures and countries are around the world. Our baskets come from Ghana and Zimbabwe andthe origins of these versatile, practical pieces can be traced to the maker by their distinctive weave, decorative pattern, and material composition. Although there’s a long tradition of basket weaving in these countries by men, women artisans from different cultures tend to be the primary makers. These women utilize a wide range of local sustainable materials to make their baskets, including sisal; palm fiber (also known as ilala); the inner bark of the baobab, munhondo, and mupfuti trees, as well as cane and climbing vines. Recent innovations in techniques and materials have been integrated into the creative process allowing artisans to craft larger pieces. Some of these larger baskets take 7-10 days to make.

Peace Lily



Hand-blown glass actually begins with the mouth, and is also referred to as mouth blown. The glass blower places molten glass (heated to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) at the end of a blowpipe and forcefully blows air into the glass while carefully rotating the pipe. The artisan continually turns the vessel to fine tune the form, often with the assistance of another. The glass is continuously reheated while additional refinements are made to the shape. Many times these shapes are then placed in a steel or wood formed mold to help shape the glass.


The mouth blowing process begins with placing molten glass at the end of the blowpipe. The artisan carefully rotates the blowpipe while keeping control of the temperature while forcefully blowing air into the glass.

This lets the vessel take a hallow sphere shape before placing it into a wooden mold to perfect the form.

Once removed from the mold, the glass is cut from the blowpipe and the bottom is flattened and the neck is shaped.

The vessel is continuously reheated while additional refinements are made to the shape and form to give it that perfectly imperfect touch.

Peace Lily



The hand dyeing process encourages natural, beautiful variations in colors and tones that you won’t find in mass produced, factory dyed fabrics, and is carried out by makers and small artisan businesses, rather than industrial dye houses. Hand dyeing comprises many methods including hand painting, immersion dyeing, kettle dyeing, and dip dyeing. It also incorporates ancient techniques that can’t be achieved by machine, like Shibori, Batik, Ikat, and mud cloth dyeing.

Peace Lily



Hand-lathing is a woodworking process in which an artisan guides a lathe to carve wood into a desired shape. The hand-lathing process can also comprise a wide range of hand operated tools, including skew chisels, nose chisels, fluted gouges, and spindle gouges, all of which enable the artisan to accurately control the cutting. Hand-lathed goods range from functional bowls, vases, and candlesticks to decorative items like wood link chains.

How To Make A Hand-Lathed Wood Chain

A wood worker drills 2 large holes into rectangular pieces of pine wood.

A second woodworker then hand cuts the corners of the wood to create an oval shape.

... while a third creates the interior oval.

A woodworker uses a lathe to perfectly smooth and finesse each link.

A wood worker cuts, glues, and assembles each chain.

Each chain is then whitewashed by hand, and hung to dry.

The finished wooden chain (large version) ready to be shipped to Bloomist.


Hand Loom

A hand loom is operated manually without the use of electricity. Powered by foot, this traditional style of loom is controlled by pedals or treadles, and enables weavers to create variations in texture by combining yarns of different quality and thickness. Production of hand loomed textiles is largely decentralized, and carried out by artisans in their villages.

Peace Lily



In the context of dried flowers and botanicals, handpicked means collected with care by a farmer or a gardener, not harvested by a commercial machine.


Hand Poured

In the context of candles, hand poured means more than simply pouring. First, the candle maker places a cotton wick in each container and holds it in place with metal clips called bow ties. Wax is melted to 180 F (approximately) and fragrance is added. The candle maker then pours the wax into each container, and when the wax has hardened, carefully trims the wick.

Peace Lily



Hand-thrown pottery is crafted without the use of a mold. Usually made on a potter’s wheel, it can also be “slab built” with hands, fingers, and simple tools. Slight variations occur in hand-thrown pottery, making every piece unique.


Photos: Bob Dinetz

Before throwing, the potter wedges balls of clay. Wedging removes air pockets, gives clay a uniform consistency, and makes the clay more pliable.

Firstly, the ball of clay is centered on either a motorized or pedal wheel. As the wheel spins, the potter carefully hand shapes the clay into the desired shape and thickness.

Using a wire guitar string mounted to a brick, the potter marks the height and width of the bowl.

The clay dries for a day or two until it is leather hard. The potter then trims the base of the bowl with a sharp loop tool.

The potter uses a piece of leather to compress the rim of the bowl.

Potters experiment with different glazes on different clay bodies, and create “swatches” of glaze color for reference. Glaze is applied to the thrown piece with a brush and then fired in a kiln.

Photo: David Chow

Finished pieces exhibit the hand of the potter, including throw rings on the inside, slight variations in size, and unique drips on a glazed surface.



One of the oldest surviving crafts in the world, hand weaving utilizes a traditional loom rather than a mechanized version, and refers to the process in which weavers manually interlink two sets of yarn – the warp (length) and the weft (width) - over and over. This painstaking process gives textiles a unique texture and feel.




Prized for its uniquely smooth surface and lustrous polished shine Tadelakt is an ancient limestone plastering technique and versatile material that’s native to Marrakech, Morocco. Made with ethically sourced lime plaster Tadelakt has been used since the 11th C. to coat the walls and baths of traditional Hammams and Moroccan homes and to make beautiful objects. The word Tadelakt means “massage” or “rub” in Arabic. To achieve Tadelakt’s uniquely smooth, polished sheen artisans rub olive soap over the lime plaster finish.


Working with tadelakt is time consuming. To create objects like vases and bowls, artisans firstly hand-throw or mold the shape of the piece using local red terra cotta clay, and thenleave it to dry in the sun for either 2 days (during the summer) or up to a week (in the cooler winter months). The pieces are then fired in a gas kiln, applied with several coats of lime plaster, and left to dry once again. Using a pebble, artisans then rub the tadelakt to achieve a smooth finish. Finally, they apply traditional Moroccan black olive soap to the surface to achieve a fine, highly polished finish.