Talis & Cambodhi Silks

I began Talis in 2001 out of a deep wish to be an integral link in the process of elevating marginalized artisans out of poverty.  To help them overcome adversity, and to not only cope, but to thrive.  As we practice Fair Trade principles, we help artisans and their families attain a life with better health care, education, more nutritious food, and improved living conditions.

My dream to start a Fair Trade business grew out of my travels through Southeast Asia, India and Nepal  starting in 1990.  Building on a lifelong love for and involvement in Buddhist culture, I was immediately drawn to these tribal peoples' expression of art through jewellery and textiles.  As well, the grace, humor and resilience of the people touched me deeply.

Since 2003 Talis has travelled to Northern Thailand, and worked with the artisans of the Karen hill tribe people. This village has been making tribal silver jewellery since the 1970’s using traditional methods. We were enchanted by their beliefs in nature spirits that come through in their lyrical tribal jewellery. Upon discovering how this village was working as a Fair Trade co-operative it became clear that these were the people we would come to work with.

In 2009 Talis joined Faces of Fair Trade, a group of socially concerned entrepreneurs based in Toronto, Canada that follow Fair Trade principles in various countries all over the world. At that time I met Diane Strong, owner of Cambodhi Silks, and one of the group's founders.  Diane and I shared a common passion to help and empower women, and to seek spiritual growth in Southeast Asian Buddhist countries.

I had the pleasure of working side by side with Diane extensively over the next four years.  In January of 2013 Diane chose to retire, and I had the privilege of becoming the owner and sole supplier of  Cambodhi Silks.  Having worked solely with silver for so long, I was thrilled to be once again surrounded by the colours and textures of all the textiles, one of my early passions.

Talis is dedicated to preserving the indigenous art forms of Thailand and Cambodia - bridging traditional techniques with western esthetics, and establishing inroads to the larger western marketplace.  I invite you to become the next link in the chain, a participant in this worthy endeavour - a catalyst in the evolution of these tribal communities.

Sylvia Biro Price

Toronto, Canada

2015

 

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