Meridian on the Road: Visiting Our Artisan Partners in Ghana

The artisan process is at the heart of everything that we do. Every item in the Meridian collection supports handmade craft, helps to preserve cultural heritage and expand the artisan’s market reach to the larger world. While we’ve only been around for less than a year, we currently work in 14 countries (and counting!). Each country is unique, presenting different cultures, languages, currencies, time zones, and of course, products.

One country that lives close to our hearts is Ghana. Located in Western Africa, it is located only a few degrees north of the Equator and is therefore warm year-round. The nation is diverse, with a mix of cultures, languages and religions. Artisan craftsmanship in the form of hand-carved wood, metalsmithing, and colorful textiles are the best representatives of work coming from this region.

We work with three separate artisan partners in Ghana: Metal artisans, wood carvers, and bead makers. Our bead making partners, a fair trade women’s cooperative, are located in an isolated community far away from the city. Our partners who work with wood and metal are in Southern Ghana. Their work is overseen by our artisan liaison there.

When we launched our first collection in mid-2017, we commissioned a photographer to shoot our artisan partners in Southern Ghana. The below photographs are a result of this photoshoot. We hope you enjoy getting a glimpse at the incredible work being done in Ghana!

Meridian | Our Ghana artisan liaison wears beads handmade by his family using the ancient process of lost wax casting.
Our artisan liaison wears beads handmade by his family using the ancient process of lost wax casting.
Meridian | This is the main road in the Southern Ghana town where several of our partners live and work.
This is the road in the Southern Ghana town where several of our partners live and work.
Meridian | Our artisan partner specializes in lost wax casting. This type of metal working has been passed down over multiple generations, starting with his great-great-grandfather, who was a jewelry craftsman for the Ashanti Chief.
Our artisan partner specializes in lost wax casting. This type of metal working has been passed down over multiple generations, starting with his great-great-grandfather, who was a jewelry craftsman for the Ashanti Chief.
Meridian | Our artisan partner is now working with an apprentice, teaching the complex process of lost wax casting to a new generation.
Our artisan partner is now working with an apprentice, teaching the complex process of lost wax casting to a new generation.
Meridian | To begin the process of lost wax casting, artisans uses beeswax to make a model.
To begin the process of lost wax casting, artisans uses beeswax to make a model.
Meridian | They then cover the model to make a protective mold and place it in a pot over a fire so that the beeswax inside will melt. After the wax melts, an empty cast of the item remains.
They then cover the model to make a protective mold and place it in a pot over a fire so that the beeswax inside will melt. After the wax melts, an empty cast of the item remains.
Meridian | Artisans fill the empty casts with melted, recycled brass. Our young apprentice here tends to the fire at his family’s workshop.
Artisans fill the empty casts with melted, recycled brass. Our young apprentice here tends to the fire at the workshop.
Meridian | After the brass has cooled and hardened, the mold can be cracked to reveal what lies beneath. The artisan above works to clean and break apart the castings that have cooled.
After the brass has cooled and hardened, the mold can be cracked to reveal what lies beneath. The artisan above works to clean and break apart the castings that have cooled.
Meridian | Our wood carving artisan partner runs his family’s business. He specializes in small hand-carved wood furnishings and decorative items.
Our wood carving artisan partner runs his family’s business. He specializes in small hand-carved wood furnishings and decorative items.
Meridian | A group of artisans work together in the shade of palm leaves to carve traditional wood pieces.
A group of artisans work together in the shade of palm leaves to carve traditional wood pieces.
Meridian | Each item is carved entirely by hand. The artisans use no written directions, and instead memorize designs. No two pieces are therefore exactly alike.
Each item is carved entirely by hand. The artisans use no written directions, and instead memorize designs. No two pieces are therefore exactly alike.
Meridian | This artisan uses a chisel to carve one of our Ashanti Doll figures, which are symbols of motherhood said to bring health, happiness, and good fortune to new mothers and those aspiring to become one.
This artisan uses a chisel to carve one of our Ashanti Doll figures, which are symbols of motherhood said to bring health, happiness, and good fortune to new mothers and those aspiring to become one.

For more about our work with Ghanian artisans, see photos of our fair trade women’s cooperative of bead makers.

Shop the Ghana Collection

Meridian | Recycled Glass Bead Strand - Watermelon
Recycled Glass Bead Strand – Watermelon
Meridian | Recycled Glass Bead Strand - Tortoise Shell
Recycled Glass Bead Strand – Tortoise Shell 
Meridian | Ashanti Doll
Ashanti Doll
Meridian | Brass Bell
Brass Bell

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