Arcadia Home FAQs
Welcome to Arcadia Home
Bring the beauty of natural materials, artisan craftsmanship, and contemporary design into your home with Arcadia Home. Like the classical vision of arcadia we are named for– idyllic, abundant, inspiring nature–Arcadia Home is where earth-friendly production intersects with exquisite living. From hand felted wool Christmas decorations, to stunning hand-painted decorative boxes and trays, to the pet decor that will make you smile, find the heirloom pieces that you'll love to love, and join us as we celebrate beautiful craftsmanship, a beautiful impact, and your beautiful home.
Dawn Kikel founded Arcadia Home in 2001 following her travels around the world for business and pleasure. Captivated by the artisan-made goods she discovered in her travels, she decided she wanted to be closer to the world of handmade items, and to help grow the market for handcrafted designs. Arcadia Home was born. The company has continued in its passionate promotion of craft and handmade design ever since.
Artisan Craftsmanship, Sustainable Materials, & Heirloom Treasures
Arcadia Home products are designed in Brooklyn, New York, and handcrafted by artisans, mostly in India and Peru. It is the hand of these traditional makers that ensures each Arcadia Home piece is uniquely special, and made to last a lifetime.
Our designs are mostly made of hand felted wool, alpaca wool, hand painted glass, and hand loomed cotton. We source sustainably, and our artisans are experts in their craft - creating the heirloom of tomorrow.
In our work with these fabulous artisan groups, Arcadia Home is helping to preserve heritage craft and artforms, promote the principles of fair trade business practices, and provide our customers with the value of an eco-friendly and socially-conscious option for decorating your home.
Arcadia Home felt designs are made of “hand-felted wool,” which means that the wool is processed into felt by hand, rather than machine-processed or boiled. Hand-felted wool is thick and heavy-weight, making it durable and long-lasting, with a homespun texture and visible wool fibers. This is a very special quality of hand-felted wool, as it betrays the handicraft involved, as well as the fact that this amazing textile is made from a wonderful natural source – sheep’s wool! Hand felting is the most traditional method of processing wool into felt, and the technique is eco-friendly.
Arcadia Home’s felt designs are lovingly created by a group of artisans in India’s Rajasthan state. Felt making has a long history in this part of the world. Handmade felt has been used for hundreds of years as simple floor coverings in traditional Indian homes. Not so long ago, the art of felt making began to die out as inexpensive Chinese rugs proliferated the market. Many artisans began to seek other occupations and to migrate to urban areas, away from their villages, homes, and families. However, a small group of artisans continued to preserve the knowledge and the tradition of felt making. By partnering with Arcadia Home, an entire new income stream for these artisans was established, and continues today. A new generation of artisans is now being trained in the art of hand felting wool.
The facility where Arcadia Home’s felt designs are made combines traditional artisan knowledge with state-of-the-art sustainable technologies. Hand-power is resource #1. Sheep feed freely in the natural desert surroundings, and their wool is untreated. At the same time, the facility is equipped with the technology to harvest and recycle rainwater, generate solar power, process drinking water via reverse osmosis, and use water recycled via a sewage treatment plant to support green belts. The entire felt-making process is optimized to create fantastic hand-felted wool in the most eco-friendly manner possible, and simultaneously to supporting the sustainability and resiliency of the surrounding community. They even compost the by-product of felt making (which is called “wool manure”) which then goes on to provide natural fertilizer for local farmers.
Once the felt has been pressed into long pieces, it is dyed using low-impact, azo-free dyes. The felt is now ready for the artisans to start cutting, applique work, and sewing.
In addition to creating a full time livelihood for the artisans making the felt, Arcadia Home is also helping to support an all-woman team of seamstresses who create the beautiful finished products. The production gives them a dependable income stream that they tend to spend on the health and education of their children. In this way, the hand-felted wool operation enriches the entire community.
After we began working with our artisan partners in the Rajasthan state of India, they were recognized by the Government of India and awarded the honor of “Best Innovation in Crafts for International Markets,” based on the Christmas items they produced for Arcadia Home that are so popular in the United States.
Hand felted wool is naturally hypoallergenic, waterproof, flame-resistant, and anti-microbial. What a perfect textile for home decor and holiday decorations! We are so honored to have the opportunity to work with our wonderful artisan partners and to give our customers the opportunity to use these special hand-felted wool items in their home.
Arcadia Home’s beautiful reverse painted mirror boxes and trays are hand painted in Peru by an artisan collective that operates under fair trade principles. The technique of reverse painting mirror is a Renaissance art brought by Spaniards to Peru during the colonial period (an equivalent process in France is known as verre églomisé). Peruvian artisans mastered the technique and are today renowned for the quality of craftsmanship in their hand painted pieces.
The art of reverse glass painting takes time, patience, and precision. The artist paints the design on the underside of the glass, such that when the mirror is flipped, the design shows through. As paint dries very slowly on glass, each layer of paint, and every step in the process, is time-consuming and must be meticulously monitored. The skill involved is truly an art form, and the time involved in creating each piece renders each design a true work of art.
Arcadia Home is proud to be working with this artisan group, as the partnership underscores our wholehearted support of fair trade business practices, artisan collaboration, and the creation of beautiful, ecofriendly, handmade items for our customers to enjoy in their home.
Arcadia Home enjoys a fun and fruitful relationship with a Fair Trade group in Peru in creating a line of items that are hand-knit of an alpaca blend. Alpaca is a natural fiber that comes from the world’s oldest domesticated animal. For thousands of years, alpaca have been bred exclusively for their coats, which produce some of the most luxurious fiber in the world.
Not only is alpaca a wonderfully luxurious natural fiber, but alpaca cultivation provides small family farmers in this area with a steady source of income (and fabulous gardening fertilizer). As these animals are depended on for livelihood in this area of the world, they are treasured, well treated, and highly respected. Alpaca are also one of the few herd animals whose grazing and roaming do not damage the terrain they live on. The alpaca's two-toed feet are soft pads protected on the top and sides by toenails. Unlike hard hooves, they leave the terrain undamaged. As they graze, they only eat the top of the grass rather than uprooting it as many other animals do. This means that the fields they graze in are well maintained and can be used for a variety of purposes, including planting crops.
The more we learn about this amazing animal and the marvelous women who knit our products, the more enthusiastic we become about our work with them!
Arcadia Home’s hand-loomed cotton designs are created using artisan techniques that have been passed down through generations. The cotton is first hand-dyed, and the thread is spun by hand. A traditional hand-powered loom, using the weft and warp process, creates the beautiful designs in the fabric, which is then cut by hand. On many of our designs, hand-sewn kantha stitching is the finishing touch. The craftsmanship and handiwork involved at each stage of dying, spinning, looming, cutting, and sewing ensures that every finished piece is truly special and one-of-a-kind.
We are committed to preserving our beautiful planet, and to celebrating the finely-honed craftsmanship of our artisans and empowering them with opportunity to flourish. To these ends, we are proud to be members of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise and the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Through our memberships, we join our efforts with those of other dedicated enterprises who believe in a better way of doing business.
Through our participation in Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, we are aligning Arcadia Home with the Alliance's central missions: To preserve traditional artforms and techniques; to provide steady employment for artisans around the world (with an emphasis on women); and to foster economically viable conditions for the practice of craft.
In 2018, the Sustainable Furnishings Council awarded Arcadia Home the “Global Goodness Award” in recognition of our commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and corporate good citizenship.
Arcadia Home was commissioned to create decorations for the Obama family’s first Christmas in the White House private residence. We created three heirloom tree skirts for the First Family to enjoy, as well as stockings for the First Dog, Bo, and later on, for their new puppy Sunny.