Creative Women

Every purchase uplifts weavers who are preserving time-honored traditions.

LOCATion: Ethiopia

TECHNIQUE: Handwoven from raw cotton

Partners: since 2017

Creative Women

Creative Women works with artisans preserving traditional techniques like weaving, which is at risk of disappearing as newer generations leave the trade in search of other forms of employment. The organization approaches ethical design as a counterpoint to mass production and provides a reliable, long-term source of income for craftspeople.

Handloom weaving has been practiced in Ethiopia for centuries. The looms also vary in size according to the specificity of each product. Creative Women locally sources raw cotton materials from Ethiopian farmers. Once the material has been sourced, the technique process follows four separate steps: spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing. According to tradition, women remove the seeds and spin the cotton on pedal-driven spinning wheels to create the thread. This process takes more time than the weaving and requires much skill to ensure consistent thread width. Weavers then set the warp threads, which is a crucial step and can be difficult depending on the design. Next, they use foot pedals while passing the weft thread through the warp. It is an entirely handcrafted process, free of electricity. If the design involves color variations, the hand-spun thread is then dyed. Artisans at Creative Women use AZO-free dyes and any residue is properly disposed of.

From raw cotton to the finished product, a single hand towel can require up to six hours of work and involves the collaboration of seven artisans. Hand-spun cotton is lightweight and versatile, and it becomes more absorbent with each wash-and-dry cycle.

Every purchase uplifts weavers who are preserving time-honored traditions.

LOCATED IN: Ethiopia

Technique: Handwoven from raw cotton

partners: since 2017

Creative Women

Creative Women works with artisans preserving traditional techniques like weaving, which is at risk of disappearing as newer generations leave the trade in search of other forms of employment. The organization approaches ethical design as a counterpoint to mass production and provides a reliable, long-term source of income for craftspeople.

Handloom weaving has been practiced in Ethiopia for centuries. The looms also vary in size according to the specificity of each product. Creative Women locally sources raw cotton materials from Ethiopian farmers. Once the material has been sourced, the technique process follows four separate steps: spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing. According to tradition, women remove the seeds and spin the cotton on pedal-driven spinning wheels to create the thread. This process takes more time than the weaving and requires much skill to ensure consistent thread width. Weavers then set the warp threads, which is a crucial step and can be difficult depending on the design. Next, they use foot pedals while passing the weft thread through the warp. It is an entirely handcrafted process, free of electricity. If the design involves color variations, the hand-spun thread is then dyed. Artisans at Creative Women use AZO-free dyes and any residue is properly disposed of.

From raw cotton to the finished product, a single hand towel can require up to six hours of work and involves the collaboration of seven artisans. Hand-spun cotton is lightweight and versatile, and it becomes more absorbent with each wash-and-dry cycle.

artisans at Creative Women

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