Arts and crafts have the power to transport us to the faraway places they were created in and inspired by. So to satiate your wanderlust you don’t necessarily have to board a plane and jet off to a far-flung locale.
For example, a warm Icelandic sweater may remind you of the snow-capped peaks of Iceland’s mountains, a handmade poncho may take you back to a remote corner of Argentina’s countryside, and a sushi dinner served in a sleek ceramic plate crafted in Japan is a great way to reminisce (or dream) about a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Fortunately, many local craftsmen and artists from across the globe have launched digital stores as a way to connect with people and offer their unique products often created using centuries-old techniques and traditional materials.
Below, we found 15 independent galleries, boutiques, and artists from around the globe that have made available their art online.
Ireland: Michele Hannan
Dublin-based ceramics artist Michele Hannan has always loved the Irish seashore, and especially one particular spot. "My foremost memories of the sea are the beautiful beaches of Connemara. I’m always trying to capture the essence of that place which sparked my imagination as a child,” she writes. And it’s easy to see how her love for the ocean has influenced her ceramic work that consists of decorative bowls, plates, wall art, and sculptures—organic forms, unique textures, and patterns that look as if they were created by the sea are a distinct element of her pieces.
Visit: Michele Hannan Ceramics, Castleknock House, Castleknock Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15
France: Elise Tsikis
The French-Greek jewelry designer (her father is Greek and her mother is French) Elise Tsikis honed her design skills in the studios of Christian Dior and Massimo Dutti in Barcelona before returning to Paris to launch her eponymous brand in 2014. She credits her French-Greek heritage as a main source of inspiration for her collections that are effortlessly chic, timeless, and exclusively created with raw stones. All of her pieces are hand made in her studio in the 14th arrondissement in Paris.
Visit: 13 Rue du Dragon, Paris 6
This unique crafts store in the small town of Borgarnes is worth making the trip for from Reykjavik (it’s about an hour’s drive north of the capital). The shop opened its doors in 2013 after a group of 12 women from Western Iceland decided to start a food and crafts association through which they were hoping to sell local products. To this day, a special committee selects each product offered at Ljomalind and one of the requirements is that all of them have to be produced by residents of West Iceland.
The wide range of items included jewelry, accessories, children’s clothing, food, and of course the famous Icelandic sweaters. Most pieces are unique and one-of-a-kind and their labels include the name of the artisan that created them.
Visit: Brúartorg 4, 310 Borgarnesi
Greece: Ancient Kallos
Thessaloniki-native sister duo Lamprini and Stella Stavrou are behind the Greek resort brand Ancient Kallos that is a celebration of Greek beauty (kallos means beauty in ancient Greek). They draw inspiration from “the sun shining on the islands of the Aegean, the tranquility of the Ionian Sea, and the white color of the Cyclades.” Their collections include pieces crafted from natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, and lace. Their beach cover-ups, dresses, shirts, and accessories are all crafted in Greece and sport ancient Greek patterns, embroideries, and handmade tassels.
Visit: 17 Antigonidon st. 54630, Thessaloniki
New Zealand: Kina NZ Design + Artspace
New Plymouth design store and gallery spot Kina has been a champion for young and up-and-coming New Zealand artists for more than 20 years. And its current owner, Luella Raj, is determined to keep it that way (her husband is a pottery artist whose pieces are also sold there). Raj says that Kina is all about “showcasing New Zealand art and objects in an inviting, warm and welcoming space.”
Frequent exhibitions as well as an ever-changing selection of jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, stationery, and original paintings make Kina a creative hub for local artists.
Visit: 101 Devon Street West, New Plymouth
Lima-natives Ximena and Pamela Ceballos founded their jewelry line Sissai as a way to honor and build on Peru’s longstanding jewelry heritage that dates back to the Incan Empire. Each Sissai collection features Peruvian stones such as opals, rubellites, and rubies and is handcrafted with 18-karat gold and sterling silver also sourced from Peru. The brand, which now has two stores in Lima, creates pieces for both men and women.
Visit: Av. Conquistadores 560, San Isidro, Lima and Av. El Polo 670, tienda: A-108, Surco, Lima
Tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of Buenos Aires’s Palermo Soho neighborhood, Facon sells everything from antique maps, ponchos, rugs, ceramics, and pretty much anything you can think of. The common thread between all the items is that every single one of them was made by an Argentinian artisan.
Facon’s adventurous owner and art director Martin Bustamante constantly travels the country in search of unique objects to bring to his shop that now also features a wine tasting room at the back. And if you want something truly one-of-a-kind, you can opt to design a poncho that will be made by hand in northern Argentina using sheep wool and natural dyes.
Visit: Nicaragua 4880, Buenos Aires 1414 CABA
Costa Rica: Fellix Murillo
San Jose contemporary artist Felix Murillo often takes inspiration from his native country and it’s easy to see that reflected in his art. The bold colors, organic forms, and textures, his signature paintings of fish, and vibrant natural landscapes all carry a sense of freedom, genuine joy and unpretentiousness that are in the center of the pura vida philosophy.
Visit: Jaco Beach, Puntarenas Province
Egypt: Azza Fahmy
In 1969, jewelry designer Azza Fahmy became the first female apprentice in Cairo’s ancient jewelry quarter, Khan el Khalili, when, as she describes it, “tied my hair back, put on my overalls and spent my days in a workshop full of men learning the tricks of jewelry making.”
Fahmy has always looked to her country’s long jewelry traditions as inspiration for her collections and even authored a book in 2007, Enchanted Jewelry of Egypt, where she documented a decade-worth of research on the significance of jewelry in Egyptian communities.
Visit: Click here for a list of stores.
India: Kesya Jaipur
Determined to “re-invigorate an interest” in traditional Rajasthani crafts and techniques, Divya Shekhawat and Shivangini Singh founded Kesya (the brand’s name means saffron in Rajasthani) in 2015.
Even though there is a women’s line now, initially Kesya was all about men’s accessories, and more specifically enamel cufflinks and buttons. Shekhawat and Singh’s pieces, for which they collaborate with local artisans, are inspired by Rajasthani history and culture. Hunting scenes, landscapes, and motifs from ancient palaces and frescos are often incorporated in their designs.
Visit: Royal Heritage Haveli, Khatipura Tiraya, Khatipura Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Japan: Amahare Ceramics
The concept behind ceramics shop Amahare is not only to spotlight Japan’s many local ceramic artists but also to promote an understanding of how to live in harmony with nature—something that the Japanese have mastered. The store sells traditional tableware such as rice bowls, utensils, beautiful chopstick rests, iron kettles, and teapots.
Visit: 5 Chome-5-2 Shirokanedai, Minato City, Tokyo 108-0071
Morocco: Sarah Maj
Designer Sarah Maj credits Marrakech (with “its frenzied colors”) as a source of inspiration and support for her ready-to-wear line that she launched in 2009. Maj, who is also half Italian, combines elements from both cultures when designing her collections that are sold in some of the best independent luxury boutiques in both countries. Boldly printed kimonos, flowy dresses, and boxy shirts are some of the highlights of her label’s current collection.
Visit: Amsfah88 Street, Marrakech
Italy: Micheluzzi Glass
Elena and Margherita Micheluzzi became fascinated with Murano glass by watching their father, Venetian glass artist Massimo Micheluzzi, work. Micheluzzi, who uses traditional techniques but favors a more modern aesthetic, is one of the most prominent contemporary Murano glass masters whose works are now exhibited in museums around the globe.
So the sisters, determined to continue the family tradition, are now designing their own collection of glassware. Each piece is unique and handblown in Murano in collaboration with skilled artisans. From seashell-shaped vases to multi-color water glasses in irregular shapes, their work is modern but always with a nod to the past.
Visit: Dorsoduro 1071, Rio di San Trovaso, 30123, Venice
Namibia: StArt Art Gallery
After working for years for art institutions in their native Namibia as well as abroad, art curators Gina Figueira and Helen Harris returned to their home city of Windhoek to launch StArt Art Gallery, an online platform, where they promote the work of up-and-coming and establish Namibian artists.
Some of the artists they represent are Elisia Nghidishange, who works with motifs from the human figure, cow horns, and ostrich eggshell beads, and mixed media artist Fillipus Sheehama, who uses recycled materials to explore issues relating to social and economic inequality.
Thailand: Mengrai Kilns
Named after King Mengrai the Great, who founded Chiang Mai as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom in the 13th century, Mengrai Kilns started as a small factory that produced high-fired stoneware with a special cracked glaze called “celadons”—a Chinese technique that was very popular in northern Thailand.
Nowadays, the factory employs about thirty-something artisans who still use traditional materials and techniques to create a limited number of “celadon” objects. When finished, each piece is signed by the craftsman who made it and stamped with the royal initial of the King of Thailand as well as a number to indicate the year of His Reign in which the piece was created.
Visit: 79/2 Arak Rd. Soi Samlan 6 T.Pharsingh A.Muang Chiang Mai 50200