Better World Arts, Bringing Together Indigenous Artists and Ancient Cultures

Better World Arts is one of our fabulous partner brands who offer a range of beautifully handcrafted homewares. They have been operating for over two decades. Initially, they began with just the production of handicrafts by collaborating with traditional artisans from around the world. It was later in 1996 that they invited Indigenous Australian artists to join their projects, bringing together artistic talent and showcasing ancient cultures globally.

Image courtesy of Better World Arts, 2021.

“Aboriginal design was an exciting area for us because we were inspired by the doubling of benefits to two communities, the ability for the two artistic cultures to come together through these beautiful products.” - Better World Arts

Better World collaborates with Australian Indigenous artists from remote communities from across Australia, including the Arnhem Land and the Central and Western Desert regions. They work with traditional artisans from the remote regions of Kashmir, Peru, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal (Tibetan refugees). They also recently started working with China to create their beautiful bone chinaware. The original authentic artworks by Australian First Nations artists are translated into different mediums by skilled artisans using traditional techniques. Many of Better Worlds products are hand painted, making each item completely unique.

Traditional Artisans in Kashmir. Image courtesy of Better World Arts, 2021.

“Aboriginal people are masters of artistic expression, making artefacts, dance, painting, and living and telling their dreaming stories. They do not come from a mass manufacturing culture. Opportunities to earn from their art are enhanced significantly by collaborating with a culture and people who have complimentary skills and cultural norms.” - Better World Arts

For both the Australian Indigenous artists and artisans in remote communities Better World Arts provides a much needed source of economic support. Through developing innovative projects, Better World distributes royalties to artists and artisans supporting the economic sustainability of Indigenous communities. They are endorsed by Fair Traders of Australia, which means that they adhere to a range of ethical standards that ensure fair working conditions and payments. As such, Better World directly contributes to strengthening communities and the preservation of culture.

Better World Arts works closely with communities and helps fund a number of development projects including immunisation programs, driver education programs, professional development for artists, domestic waste disposal, cooking classes and cultural exchange workshops. They also have a strong focus on creating all of their products in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. The handcrafted items that Better World sells are made using low tech and traditional techniques with natural materials, making them sustainable. They focus on preservation of the Australian and global ecosystem. Better World does this by minimizing their use of plastic, using eco friendly packaging and they have also created a line of products that generate royalties for eco causes.

Image courtesy of Better World Arts, 2021.

Through Better World’s cross-cultural projects, they are working towards Reconciliation and Closing the Gap existing within remote communities. They put it beautifully through these words:

“Art is one of the finest expressions of the human spirit and handicrafts a deep felt expression of culture. Better World Arts brings together these exalted reflections of humanity, uniting the oldest living culture on earth with the finest handmade traditions of the silk road and beyond. Our work brings balance and symmetry, nurturing the souls of the artists, their families and communities on all sides of the world. We step daily towards reconciliation. We work on many levels to Close the Gap.” - Better World Arts

Better World Arts offers a large range of beautiful handmade products all of which are handcrafted using a range of different traditional techniques. Their range includes bags, jewellery boxes, bangles, coffee mugs, cushion covers, rugs, plates, cutlery, tablecloths, table runners and tea towels among many others. Many of these products are also made recycled and natural materials such as their handmade paper products which are made from cotton scraps. Another key natural material that they use is wool, which is used to make their rugs, table runners and cushion covers. They are made using a traditional Kashmir handicraft called Gabba/Chainstiching. The wool is dyed in situ and groups of people gather in local homes surrounded by family and friends to work. The stitching is done by hand using an ‘aari,’ a sharp hooked tool similar to a crochet hook.

Better World Arts products are beautiful in so many ways because of the stories that they tell, the incredible artworks that they showcase and the intricate work that goes into hand crafting every single piece. Check out their gorgeous array of products here.