I was recently shopping along the Heritage Trail in down town Goshen, and I stopped into a store called Ten Thousand Villages.  I was greeted by a gentleman who works there and he explained the concept behind this globally influenced store.  Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit, fair trade retailer offering quality handcrafted products to customers while providing economic opportunity for skilled artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.  I am a big believer in win/win situations and this certainly is one!

Handmade products always infuse life into any space.  There is something about having a piece that has been forged by the human hand rather than by a machine.  I am always on the hunt for one of a kind handmade objects from all over the world to use in my client's homes.  I think they add personality and character that can't be matched by something that's been mass produced in a factory.

It can sometimes be difficult to find such products in the Midwest.  That's why I was thrilled to come upon Ten Thousand Villages.  It's a one stop shop where I can pick up unique products from many different cultures.  The other great thing about many of the products at Ten Thousand Villages is that they are often made of natural or recycled materials.  Most pieces come with a story attached, which makes them even more interesting!

I happened to spot a beautiful metal wall hanging featuring birds in flight.  I learned that it was made of recycled metal oil drums in  Croix des Bouquets,Haiti.  Fifty gallon drums are hammered flat and mapped with chalk designs full of energy and imagination.  Artisans pound and cut their way to each new product using only a hammer and chisel.  Each piece is finished with a coat of clear varnish or painted in bright colors that reflect the daily vibrancy of local market stands.

After leaving the store I felt as though I had been on a mini vacation in Costa Rica. Being exposed to the numerous cultures and products, and reading the stories behind these globally influenced pieces was a real unexpected treat.  It goes to show that you never know what you'll find in the heart of Amish country.  There really is something for everyone along the Heritage Trail!  See you at Los Altos Hotel & Spa in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica afterwards!

Ten Thousand Villages 206 South Main Street Goshen, IN 46526

574.533.8491 tenthousandvillages.com Monday - Saturday 10:00-6:00 Closed Sundays