Artisan’s Wisdom For White Collar Talents

How artisans offer lessons for us to reshape the post-COVID economy

Picture Credit: An employee of Jaipur Living, hand-knots a rug in Rajasthan, India. /Artisan’s wisdom for white collar talents

The artisan industry, which emphasizes remote work, offers lessons for how to reshape the post-COVID economy. Yet, we often think of artisanship and the artisan’s wisdom as a thing of the past. But in many ways it is the future.

Nest has been working since 2017 with Jaipur Living, a company that produces rugs for contemporary brands in the U.S. Jaipur works with rug weavers all over India where home-based work is the norm. Husbands and wives sit alongside each other working. Babies are cradled in the mother’s lap as she takes on the rhythmic movements of the loom.

When the midday sun gets too hot, they take a break, eat lunch, and rest. Work resumes in the evenings in the summer months, when it’s more tolerable to sit out at the loom. These are small, simple adjustments to life. But they have a profound impact on the workforce.

Artisan’s Wisdom Is Nearby, Find Them

At a time where there is an urgent call to bring Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) voices to the table, the cottage industry model that is full of artisan’s wisdom —already perfected by Black, brown, and Indigenous communities for centuries—could help suggest a new way of work.

Consumers and brands and governments need to talk about and recognize the role home-based work has in the global economy and draw it out from the shadows. For those of us in the West, we need to look at the so-called gig economy where there is a lot of artisan’s wisdom, through a new lens.

Related: Finding Purpose During A Furlough

So is it finally time for modern economies to embrace what we’ve long known? As Nahla Valji, senior gender adviser to the secretary-general of the United Nations, aptly shared, “Our formal economy is only possible because it’s subsidized by women’s unpaid work.” Remote work can, and does, work. But it must be formalized, visible, and protected.

Note: This is a write up by Rebecca van Bergen. Click here to view the full original write up at fortune.com. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit us on Social Media.

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