SURevolution is one of our favorite organizations—creative director Dina Rothstein and her staff work with indigenous artisans from around the world to help them use their skills to achieve economic independence. In the process, they make some truly striking and luxurious pieces, like this hand-carved chess set made from reclaimed wood by Colombian woodworkers.
Each board (in which there is only very small inventory) is made from the wood of the tropical carreto tree, which grows in the South American rain forest; the chess pieces are carved from the seed of the tagua, a palm tree that’s native to the Pacific coast of South America. The carreto wood comes from certified forests and the tagua seeds are purchased from growers’ collectives, so the environmental impact of these beautiful boards is minimal.
Carreto wood is a warm red color with blond streaks. The pieces are dyed in deep greens and purples, with gives them a sharp graphic contrast against the natural grain of the boards. This makes them not only outfitted for play, but also beautiful for display. And because each board is made by hand, no two are exactly alike. “The products I design are inspired by the artisans’ techniques,” explains Dina Rothstein, SURevolution’s creative director. “I give them a loose drawing that they then interpret. The ‘hand’ of the artisan is instrumental to the way the final product comes out.”
We are also offering SURevolution’s wooden backgammon set here. We love the idea of giving one of these sets as a present—they’ll raise both their game and those of the artisans who made them.