Being a fan of soft-art sculptures—or plush pals, in a more friendly, less highfalutin manner of speech—I love the chance to find ways to spread the gospel of fun and fanciful ways to incorporate critters into a home’s design scheme. Yes, we can all put teddy bears on rocking chairs or fill up mantelpieces with mohair mice, but are there other clever ways to add animal magnetism to our house décor? The simple answer is a definite “you bet ya”! Arcadia Home has a huge array of clever and cunning accents that make it clear to the world that you are a teddy bear and friends fanatic!
One of my favorite releases from Arcadia Home is their Scottie Statue, and it’s not just because it’s a doggie doppelgänger. It’s actually an incredible piece of eco-friendly art. The very colorful pooch looks like he could have been dreamed up by maverick Andy Warhol during his silk-screening, pop-art, Factory days. The rainbow-colored fellow is made from recycled clothing and papier-mâché.
The cotton has been rescued from India’s garment industry. In the production of clothing, there are unbleached hand-spun rags that are left over. These pieces are called “khadda,” and that is what makes the basis of this canine creation. The Scottie Sculpture is made from 100% cotton cloth, is water-resistant, and is handmade.
That’s what is remarkable about all the textile offerings from Arcadia Home. Even though these sculptures, pillows, bookends, and doorstops are not one-of-a-kind creations, they are all made by hand by skilled artisans, and each of these craftsmen and women brings a bit of originality and uniqueness to their designs. Though all of the “beasties” are birthed from the same template, they each have a nuanced difference or a subtle disparity, due to this hands-on labor.
Arcadia Home belongs to the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, a purveyor of Fair Trade principles. The alliance is dedicated to three core missions: to preserve traditional art forms and techniques; to provide consistent and steady work for global artisans, with an emphasis on women; to promote craft as a viable way to earn an income and to ensure that it is compensated fairly and justly.
Many of the artisans that work for Arcadia Home reside in India, and the facility where they create is a testament to an environmentally forward-thinking enterprise. The Arcadia Home studio has won awards for its commitment to sustainability. The building utilizes solar electricity, collects rainwater, and recycles water on-site.
Many of the pieces are made from hand-felted wool, and this is all part of Arcadia Home’s plan to be a curator of keeping customs alive, and also being good stewards of the earth. The felt is hand-appliquéd and is created from wool that is 100% sustainable. In this region of India, there is a long history associated with felt making, and the Arcadia Home folks are preserving and protecting it.
They are also making sure that all of the employees involved in this craft—the sheepherders, the felt makers, the seamstresses—are given safe and secure employment. It is amazing how much social responsibility and labor etiquette backs each of these designs. It intensifies the significance of every item that you decide to purchase and to display in your home, doesn’t it? The array of Arcadia Home animals (pups, cats, ducks, and elephants) is a marvelous menagerie, indeed. Grown-up folks who adore the look and luxury of huggable “make-believe” pets can indulge this inner-child secret in a mature and fashionably focused way. Rather than having traditional stuffed animals situated in a helter-skelter way—causing curious first-time guests to inquire if you have a baby, and, if so, boy, is it especially quiet—these handmade felt articles are ways to pass the sophisticated, adult “smell test.”
We arctophiles, though, know that the appeal of these characters is how they approximate our plush pals. They are as cute and as adorable as any collectible that is designed to simply stand, sit, or lounge. But these critters are made to work! Like any good dog that has listened to his obedience-training instructor, and has aced the commands of “sit, fetch, roll over,” these Arcadia Home accessories have a job to do.
Whether they are standing like sentinels at the front door, gamely holding up a row of ursine magazines and hobby books, or are fluffed and propped up on the sofa, they are toiling to make your home prettier, friendlier, and more reflective of your four-legged favorites. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say the Arcadia Home animals are truly providing creature comforts!