Holy Land Handicrafts

As a result of relentless political unrest and constant economic hardship, Bethlehem’s handicraft industry is in serious danger of disappearing. Holy Land Handicrafts have stepped up, and promised to preserve the history and practice of Palestine’s craft and design traditions and empower the artisan, too.

Products by Holy Land Handicrafts

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The Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society was established in 1981, and immediately began connecting local craftspeople and businessmen, encouraging them to work together on new collaborations and creative projects. Part of this process is supporting the artisans through low-tourism seasons, ensuring they can continue to make a living from the traditions that have supported families for over a thousand years. Over 900 artisans now benefit from the activities of the cooperative, and these include wood-carvers, ceramics artists, glass-blowers, and embroiderers.

Palestine’s olive wood tradition developed due to the local bounty of olive trees, and the demand from holy people and travellers for religious icons on their pilgrimages through Palestine. Olive wood is a symbol of peace and goodwill, and how meaningful it is that it’s the olive branch that connects Holy Land Handicraft’s traditional artisans with collectors throughout the world.

Fair trade principles continue to represent the cornerstones of the cooperatives philosophy and values. In everything is does, Holy Land Handicrafts creates opportunities for economically disadvantaged artisans, encourages their independence, provides safe working conditions and fair payment, ensures gender equality, and at all points of the supply chain they make sure they’re transparent and accountable.