Sunday, 6 March 2011
Any visitor to Salts Mill in Saltaire risks leaving a few pounds (£s) lighter of wallet and with a few pounds (lbs) more to carry. (Ask me... even though I visit a few times a month, I rarely leave without a new kitchen gadget, a book or at the very least a couple of greetings cards). They will give you a paper carrier bag or a plastic one, but now they are selling these durable, reusable calico (unbleached cotton) bags. (And - oh joy! - the handles are long enough to put over your shoulder but not so long that, hand-held, the bag hits on the ground.)
They are made in India by re-wrap, a not-for-profit manufacturing enterprise concerned with social and environmental change, which supports several fair-trade co-operatives. The company was founded in 2002 by Jangri Triveldi after an earthquake in 2001 devastated the region of Kutch (Gujerat) and left its people struggling. Re-wrap aims to join the traditional skills of craftspeople with modern designs to make attractive, affordable, ethical products. Its website is really interesting, and has a couple of touching stories about the people they provide work for.
The bag has an image of Salts Mill screen-printed on both sides, designed by Yorkshire artist Simon Palmer. Simon's work is quite distinctive, marrying what at first glance look like traditional landscapes with wonderfully surreal imaginative touches. His pictures always tell a story. The Mill itself is depicted fairly true to life, with a suggestion of chimneys and village houses in the background and there are lots of birds and people animating the scene.
I don't think Salts Mill sell online, so you would have to visit to buy a bag - but what a great idea. A useful, foldable bag that promotes two very worthwhile enterprises in Yorkshire and in India. What's not to like? ... as they say!