Indigo Lion Global Handmade is a social enterprise
inspired by the beautiful conversations
we have when we hold handmade craft in our hands

 

Discover ethically-sourced handmade textile accessories and home accents from Laos. Explore the meaningful connections around handmade craft, and the unfolding stories we all share.

 

We scout and curate ethically sourced
handmade Items for you.

 

We have developed strong relationships in Laos with artisan enterprises and weavers. Our partners share our fair trade values – sustainability, environmental respect, women’s empowerment and cultural integrity.

Annual buying trips to Laos allow us to collect the best of ethically-sourced handmade textile accessories and home accents. We deepen our relationships with our partners and weavers and discover new ones. We continually scout for new creations, bringing you a meaningful collection each spring and fall to discover a range of innovative takes on traditional designs.

We listen to the voices of our partners and the weavers we work with. We document and collect these stories to provide rich context of the villages, cultures, materials and processes behind each handmade product we sell in our online Shop and Traveling Boutique.

 

We curate beautiful conversations together.

 

Handmade craft brings people together through unfolding stories – from the weavers who make it, to the enterprises supporting their work, to us showcasing it, and finally to you, enthusiasts of handmade. We each play our part in how handmade craft matters and inspires.

How a chutney-colored Tai Lue cotton scarf reminded someone of the street-food vendors in Mumbai. How a Phu Tai indigo ikat wrap took someone back to her childhood in Savannakhet in the early 70s. How a Hmong embroidered necklace recalled someone living in Laos 14 years ago. These and many more are the unfolding stories and is at the heart of curating beautiful conversations. 

Indigo Lion collects these stories and shares them on our blog, The Handmade Chronicle, on Instagram, and in our book, Curating Beautiful Conversations, so you can engage with handmade craft more deeply. And when we return to Laos each year, we share with weavers and our partners your stories, so they can see how what they’re doing matters.

Meet us along the way at our Traveling Boutique and Conversations + Creativity happenings. Discover unique items preserving cultural integrity and traditional designs. And share your story with us in curating beautiful conversations. 

 

Global handmade brings together individuals, cultures, places, and creative expression

 

When we choose handmade, we make a statement to the world:

  • As conscious consumers, we seek transparency and expect fairness to artisans.
  • As global citizens, we advocate for equality and advance opportunity to artisans.
  • As human beings, we respect diversity and celebrate the creativity of artisans.
 
 

Indigo Lion is the culmination of decades as an artist, traveler, and expatriate fascinated by traditionally crafted objects and their stories. At every step on my journey, I've found a deepening passion for art, respect for global cultures, and dedication to women’s empowerment. They come together here in Indigo Lion.

HOW DID INDIGO LION START?

In early 2016 my husband and I took a three-month sabbatical to Southeast Asia and Northeast India. We were seeking rejuvenation, adventure, and for me, scouting all things handmade.

It was also during that time and after we returned that I did a lot of soul searching about why I was starting my business. I articulated those thoughts in a blog series:

The beautiful conversations held in my hands – “I feel a glimpse of her culture by its colors and patterns and materials that are not my own, but allow me a moment of wonder about hers.”

Our mutual curiosity can find each other – “What if instead of only us hearing the stories about artisans, we share our stories with them too? Why not share our stories with them about our enthusiasm and love for their handmade craft.”

Wanting to know and leaning towards that – “I begin to see the nuanced colors and intricate details. I touch the natural materials and feel its texture, letting my hands caress its form. The smell of place, the sense of culture, the energy of its creation made by someone far away.”

Why do we care about a person halfway across the globe? – “One person halfway across the world, an artisan, has brought me the simple joy from experiencing her created beauty. I may not know her story, but I want to tell her that she has impacted mine.”

How we empower positive change for global artisans – “Our relationship with global artisans and their handmade craft matters a great deal. We do have a role in this; it affects change. When we choose artisans and the beauty of handmade, we make a statement to the world.”

WHY LAOS?

By late 2017 I realized that Laos was where I wanted to focus my efforts. Laos is  a place that continually lets me discover it. Laos’ aesthetic is inviting, intriguing, and alive. From its Buddhist temple art, its living cultures among many distinct ethnic groups, and range of traditional designs in textiles, it’s calling me for deeper exploration and learning. 

I am no expert, nor a historian, anthropologist, or curator. But as an artist and social entrepreneur, my curiosity opens up to discover the people and story connected with the aesthetic that draws me in. I try to do this especially with the textiles traditions and weavers. This is what I share in my own unfolding story. 

WHAT’S IN THE NAME INDIGO LION?

The color indigo is an ancient natural dye with a unique process that yields an intriguing range of blue. Originating in India, it traveled for several millennia and enticed the world with its richness and mystique. For us, the color is symbolic of a global journey. It represents building relationships across cultures, preserving cultural integrity, and discovering beautiful rich textiles. 

The lion or lioness signifies courage, compassion, and giving voice. For us, the lioness recalls our vision—that when we choose handmade, we make a statement to the world in advocating for artisans and global fair trade principles. 

The circle of beads (inspired by Katu bead weaving) around the lioness represent our connection and shared stories. Handmade tells an unfolding story—from the artisans who make it, to partners championing their work, to us sharing it globally, then to you, enthusiasts of handmade, and finally sharing our stories back to our partners and weavers in Laos. 

Join me on this journey of curating beautiful conversations around handmade.

Mary Louise Marino
artist + social entrepreneur
mary@indigolionglobalhandmade.com
artist website | personal instagram