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Founded in 1976, Aid to Artisans (ATA) changes the lives of thousands of artisans each year through its empowering programs of product design, business skills training, and marketing. Historically, handmade crafts are legacies of cultural traditions. In developing countries, handcrafts continue to provide an important source of income, especially for women who have limited options and resources for productive employment. Working one-on-one with artisans, ATA acts as a catalyst to encourage artisan commerce in local, regional, and export markets in the U.S. and Europe, and to promote product sales and strengthen artisan businesses. ATA helped artisans generate $25 million in retail sales of handmade products in 2004. In human terms, self-sufficiency increases, jobs are created, household incomes are improved, and most importantly, hope, pride, and optimism grow.

Aid to Artisans is a nonprofit organization whose staff, design and business consultants, volunteers and an active board of directors helps handcraft-based businesses compete in the global marketplace. Their work is made possible by support from government institutions, foundations, corporations and individuals and by the participation of importers and retailers.

By sending consultants who have long experience in designing products for the the marketplace to work directly with artisan entrepreneurs, they accomplish a transfer of knowledge to which most artisans would never otherwise have access.

Bamboula Ltd. is a member of the ATA Trade Network, a group of socially-conscious businesses whose interests lie in the world of decorative arts, textiles, home furnishings and fashion.

January 2005, BAMBOULA LTD. and TRIBALINKS merge their lines of Ghana glass chandeliers and interior accessories.

Jasperdean Kobes, owner, Bamboula Ltd., and Phyllis Woods, owner, Tribalinks, have just announced their new collaboration. These veteran importers of African handmade products have merged their collections of colorful Ghana glass and iron chandeliers, and other glass interior accessories.

Going forward, the merged collections of Ghana glass will be sold exclusively by Bamboula Ltd. Phyllis Woods will continue to design all of the translucent glass products being offered by Bamboula Ltd, and to work intensively with the artisans in Ghana who produce them. The collection will include an expanded line of Ghana glass for the home and garden from chandeliers, wall sconces, and candleholders to wine accessories, garden stakes, and metal furniture.

Phyllis Woods, a nationally known jewelry designer and African importer, brings to this collaboration 20 years of product development experience in West Africa. She will also continue Tribalinks, her own company that features her unique jewelry designs, beads, and other West African interior accessories. Phyllis Woods and Tribalinks can be contacted at Studio F, 267 S. Stone, Tuscon AZ 85701 520/623-8654, 520/623-8654

Most importantly, the merger will bring a broader assortment of Ghana glass to the US market more quickly and more efficiently. At the same time, it will employ more Ghanaian artisans living in rural areas, and create income for them and their families. Bamboula Ltd. and Tribalinks both share a common commitment to providing economic opportunities for African artisans by developing and marketing their craft traditions.

Sales of the decorative and functional Ghana glass pieces give bead makers the opportunity to prosper, while honoring and keeping alive their ancient tradition of bead making. The many colors of broken window glass, plates, and bottles are today being creatively recycled by the Krobo bead makers of Ghana. Small bits of glass are put into newly designed molds to be fired out of doors in wood ovens. Fused together into the various shapes needed for each style, the recycled, reinvented bead shapes are assembled with wire and metal into stylish products that fit into any room in the home or garden. Although each piece is unique and handmade, the molds and the styles are consistent, making it possible to reorder the selected items.

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