Crafting a Future for Artisans

How Susan Easton and DARA Artisans are preserving artisanal practices with their From the Road collaboration.  

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

When Susan Easton isn’t hanging out of planes in Kenya, hobnobbing with Himalayan locals, or working on her retail brand, From the Road, she can be found collaborating with DARA Artisans.

Named after Easton’s retail brand, the collection seems to be the perfect outlet for her unending wanderlust and penchant for adventure. Comprised of one-of-a-kind scarves made from the finest natural materials, they are well placed in the “Artisanal Age” where specialty niche items are in higher demand than their mass-produced counterparts. As a result, From the Road stands as a testament to the beauty and complexity found in artisanal practices worldwide. From Nepal and India to Ecuador and Peru, each scarf’s design is based on Easton’s time spent with diverse cultures.

“One of the things that makes my collection so unique is that I consider each piece a collaboration. I don’t use the artisans as a production arm; I spend time with them, learn their techniques, way of life, and what’s a part of their world. Out of that usually comes the inspiration for the pieces.”

Easton’s designs are dedicated to preserving the time-honored traditions and techniques used by master artisans, a passion she shares with DARA Artisans.

An online store that features curated accessories, jewelry, and housewares from craftspeople around the world, DARA Artisans is an ideal partner for Easton. Between DARA’s platform that exposes artisans to a global market, and Easton’s visionary style, they are an artisanal dream team.

From the Road is about working with remote, wise cultures, and using the techniques that are nearing extinction to make products. I feel like each piece is something that neither the artisans, nor Dara and I could do on our own. It’s a true merging and melding of what we both can bring to the table. I like to say that each collaboration starts with a conversation and ends with a conversation piece.”

An integral part of that conversation is the story behind the scarves. There is wisdom in the weaves, heritage in their handiwork, and pride in every pleat. The result of this poetic creation is a one-of-a-kind artisanal scarf rich in meaning.

Below, Easton takes Urban Agenda through the beautiful processes behind the From the Road items: