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Cultural Cloth opens in Maiden Rock

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MAIDEN ROCK--A new addition to the Maiden Rock retail scene, Cultural Cloth, will celebrate its grand opening to the public this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a discount on all purchases made in-store that day.

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Located at W3557 Hwy. 35 in the village (directly across the street from the Smiling Pelican bakery), the store features one-of-a-kind home d├ęcor and personal accessories hand-crafted by women artists in developing countries worldwide.

Co-owners MaryAnne Wise of Stockholm and Jody Slocum of Downing use their extensive experience as weavers and artists to curate an exquisite collection of products for sale. The store's offerings run the gamut from colorful hand-hooked rugs made from recycled fabrics (created by indigenous Maya women from Guatemala) to gossamer silk and cashmere scarves crafted by Indian artists to thick felted-wool rugs traditionally designed and produced, as they have been for generations, by Kyrgyzstani and Afghani women.

In addition to being a boon for shoppers looking for unique, high quality, globally sourced items not readily available elsewhere in the region, the store enhances the lives of the women who produce the artisan-made products. Seeking out female artists and women's development organizations in some of the world's most impoverished areas, its goal is to ensure women earn living wages producing their wares.

"We don't consign work from the artisans," said Wise. "These women need to feed their families today, so we buy the work outright, immediately putting money into women's pockets."

In addition, the co-owners reinvest a portion of profits back into the artists' communities, supporting initiatives in health, education and community infrastructure. Slocum explains women's works from over a dozen developing countries are sold at the new store.

"There's literally something for everyone: delicate crewelwork pillows from Pakistan; vintage frasadas (used as a colorful blanket or throw) from Bolivia; silk stoles woven by women in Luang Prabang, Laos; and intricate cut-paper cards made by women from Peru. Virtually everything we carry has a story behind it--a woman's story--that speaks not only to their artistry, but to the their culture and their lives."

Cultural Cloth hours are: Fridays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.culturalcloth.com or phone 715-607-1238.

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