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as featured in Dec09 Oprah Magazine

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
Carpenter, a former New York fashion executive,
works with craftspeople in Bolivia and Guatemala
to create beautiful textiles.

To Celebrate the Millenium nine years ago,
Patti Carpenter headed to Brazil, where she
threw flowers into the ocean and made a simple
wish: I have a talent, and I would like to make it
work in a different way. As a designer and fashion
executive, Carpenter traveled the world in style but
felt unsatisfied. “The ’80s and ’90s were a creative
time on Seventh Avenue, but that changed,” she
says. “Instead of meetings about an idea or an
inspiration, the driving force was the bottom line.”
Returning home to new york City, Carpenter,
now 54, volunteered with Aid to Artisans, a
nonprofit group that promotes craft businesses in
developing countries. “Twelve of us looked at
products from these countries to see if the local
people could make something better or different
using the same skills.” Within a year, she had made
the first of many trips to Africa and Central and
South America, where she was so impressed with
the handwoven and embroidered textiles that she
quit her job to start Carpenter + Company.
now she imports beautiful throws, scarves,
and table runners made by people in Guatemala
and Bolivia, selling them through stores like
Dean & Deluca and Bloomingdale’s. Many of the
craftspeople use centuries-old techniques, taking
undyed wool from alpacas and weaving it on hand-
built foot looms. Carpenter’s efforts have helped
the people she employs in unexpected ways. “I
found out that some of the husbands of the women
in Bolivia make costumes for Carnaval,” she says,
“so I put them to work embroidering pillows. They
often have to leave the family to look for work,
but because the crafts subsidize their existence,
the families can stay together. And now that they
can afford to upgrade their pumps, we’ve seen
cleaner water come into their communities.”
Today Carpenter travels the Third World, staying
in hotels that may not even have hot water—but
she likes it that way. “When I was feeling unfulfilled,
a friend gave me a card that said: ‘Be the change
you want to see in the world.’ The pay isn’t as good,
but I get so much more.” (For information go to
carpentercompany.biz; for details see Shop Guide.)

—Aimee Lee Ball



article appeared in the December 2009 issue.
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My work
SMALL TERRA STRIPE ACCESSORIES.JPG
SMALL TERRA STRIPE TABLE TOP.JPG
SMALL TERRA COSMETIC BAGS.JPG
SMALL TERRA SATURDAY SHOPPER BAG.JPG
MODEL WITH GEO SPIRAL SHAWL ON HIP 6-09.JPG
MODEL WITH CROCHET SPIRAL SHAWL 6-09.JPG
MODEL WITH CONTRAST BORDER SCARF 6-09.JPG
MODEL WITH DOUBLE CROCHET SCARVES 6-09.JPG
MODEL WITH CROCHET ALPACA SCARVES 6-09.JPG
pattih_Small_.jpg
MODEL WITH GEO ROSE EMBROIDERED SHAWL 6-09.JPG
MODELS WITH GEO SPIRAL SCARVES 6-09.JPG
MODEL WITH WHITE ON WHITE GEO SPIRAL PTTN 6-09.JPG
BLACK AND WHITE PLEATED COSMETICS.jpg
BLACK AND WHITE COSMETIC CASES.jpg
BLACK AND WHITE GEO SPIRAL PILLOWS AND THROW W-MACRAME BORDER.JPG
BLACK AND WHITE TABLE TOP COLLECTION.jpg
BLACK AND WHITE GEO SPIRAL STACK.JPG
BLACK AND WHTIE TZUTE DETAILS.jpg
BLACK AND WHITE TZUTE PILLOW GROUP.jpg
ATITLAN NATURAL DYE STRIPE COSMETIC BAGS.jpg
ATITLAN NATURAL DYE STRIPE BEACH BAG AND SUNGLASS CASE.jpg
ATITLAN NATURAL DYE STRIPE ANGLE POCKET BAG.jpg
ATITLAN NATURAL DYE STRIPE PILLOW COLLECTION.jpg
ATITLAN NATURAL DYE STRIPE SMALL SHOPPING TOTE.jpg
MOD MEDALLION EMBROIDERER 3.JPG
MOD MEDALLION EMBROIDERER 2.JPG
MAN WITH TZUTE IN CHICHI.JPG
MOD MEDALLION EMBROIDERER 4.JPG
ME IN CHICHI.JPG
ME IN CHICHI 2.JPG
WEAVING ALPACA THROW.JPG
WEAVING ALPACA THROWS.JPG
ME AND MANUELA 2.JPG
CHICHI STRIPE TABLE TOP COLLECTION.jpg
CHICHI STRIPE SMALL BEACH TOTE.jpg
CHICHI STRIPE COSMETIC BAGS.jpg
CHICHI STRIPE SMALL SHOPPING TOTE.jpg
CHICHI STRIPE MESSENGER BAG.jpg
CHICHI STRIPE BEACH BAG AND SUNGLASS CASE.jpg
CHIDHI STRIPE ANGLE POCKET BAG.jpg
CHICHI STRIPED PILLOW COLLECTION.jpg
SMALL PETEN TABLE TOP SHOT.JPG
SMALL PETEN STRIPE ENVELOPE BAG AND ACCESSORIES.JPG
SMALL PETEN BAG WITH ANGLED POCKET 2.JPG
SMALL OVERNITE IN PETEN STRIPE.JPG
SMALL SATURDAY SHOPPER IN PETEN STRIPE.JPG
SMALL PETEN PLEATED COSMETICS.JPG
PETEN STRIPE COSMETIC CASES 2.JPG
SAN MARCOS STRIPE COSMETIC BAGS 2.JPG
SAN MARCOS STRIPE BAG GROUP W-LEATHER TRIMS 2.JPG
SAN MARCOS STRIPE TABLE TOP 2.jpg
SAN MARCOS STRIPE PILLOW GROUPING 2_001.JPG
SAN MARCOS STRIPE PLEATED COSMETIC CASES.jpg
SMALL BOLIVIA BABY ALPACA CROCHET SCARVES.JPG
SMALL WHITE SPIRAL STITCH BABY ALPACA THROW.JPG
ALPACA WOVEN SCARVES W-MACRAME BORDER.JPG
SMALL BOW STITCH BABY ALPACA THROW.JPG
SMALL SOLID ALPACA THROWS.JPG
SMALL OF MACRAME BORDER ALPACA THROWS.JPG
ALPACA WOVEN SCARVES IN 5 COLORS 9-07.JPG
SMALL EMROIDERED CHOCOLATE PILLOWS.JPG
SMALL EMBROIDERED GRAY HEATHER PILLOWS.JPG
SMALL DETAIL CHOCOLATE EMBROIDERED PILLOWS.JPG
SMALL EMBROIDERED ALAPCA SCARVES.JPG
SMALL EMBROIDERED GRAY PILLOW AND THROW.JPG
ANTIGUA STRIPE PLEATED COSMETICS_.jpg
SMALL GUATE PERSONAL ACCESSORIES.JPG
GREEN TZUTE PILLOW DETAILS 2.JPG
GUATEMALA EMBROIDERY PILLOW COLLECTION.jpg
CARRY ALL TOTES IN SAN MARCOS AND PETEN STRIPES 2.JPG


some pictures of my work
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