Words and Layout by Jenny Wonderling | Shop Meso now!
Enthusiastic, accessible, and deeply committed to what they are growing, the owners of Meso have elevated crafts to mainstream design with a conscience, and they have a lot to be proud of. As Gonzalo, one of Meso’s founding partners explained, “Since we started, we immediately disrupted the handmade sector. It was like our trademark, doing things completely differently.” Impassioned by the positive change they are bringing to hundreds of artisans and their families in many villages of Central America, (and many more through the non-profit programs they have helped support) three young entrepreneurs are simultaneously preserving and improving traditional ways of life, while offering access to a global market for age old techniques. When I started Nectar 11 years ago, I searched mostly in vain for companies with a great modern design sense making sustainably, ethically sourced products. Handmade and Fair Trade companies at that time were plucking traditional globally sourced crafts and while providing a market, not translating the designs for those with a more scrutinous design sense. It was almost impossible to source from companies that were effectively doing what Meso has created with seeming ease: an abundant line of diverse goods for the home that are unequivocally modern and yet whisper of something more. And that “more” is a visceral, heartfelt response I long for in every product I share with Nectar’s clients, but is still not easy to find: items that subtly ignite a curiosity and respect for the hands that made each specific piece, and their unique culture. And it is this experience that allows for much more than a simple purchase.
Suddenly a mere pillow has served to remind us that we can better others through that purchase. But we are also gifted with a new lens and respect for a different and often ancient way of life, perhaps even touched by their subtle energy and story, whether we consciously are aware of this or not. In a political age that is increasingly dismissive of the benefits of cultural diversity and exchange, I cling vigilantly to the fact that embracing and learning from our global village is not only essential to our collective happiness but our survival. Most of us have forgotten what it takes to shear sheep, spin wool, source and process berries and other natural items for dyes, use a backstrap or pedal loom, hand wash textiles, hang them to dry, walk miles to get it all done, as stories are shared and songs are sung in an ancient language. It is important to have others remind us of the inherent beauty in all that simplicity, tradition, and even hard manual work. And yet there is all that, (poof!), contained in that one pillow that you can purchase from your perch at your formica desk with a click of a button and a screen.
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