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1501 Pike Pl #428, Seattle, WA 98101Get Directions
Featuring one of a kind pieces of ethnographic art and specialty pieces. Purchasing of these pieces is private. Please call or email to inquire of these items.
Founded in 1992, and Fair Trade Federation member since 2007, It’s Cactus is a purveyor of exquisite Haitian metal art, a sustainable art form that’s built on long-term relationships with Haitian metal sculptors. It’s Cactus pays a fair wage, provides equal opportunity, engages in environmentally sustainable practices, provides safe working conditions, financial assistance, and in general aims to help improve the standard of living for the artists they work with.
One of the particular communities that It’s Cactus works with is Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. Beginning with a talented, local blacksmith in the 1950’s, and continuing on through the time-honored tradition of apprenticeship, Croix-des-Bouquets is now considered to be the epicenter of the Haitian metalwork movement that we know and love today.
Using old steel oil drums from the nearby city of Port-au-Prince, artists get their metal “canvas” by first burning the metal in a dry banana leaf fire (to clean off debris), then cutting the drum from top to bottom, working the drum open using their weight, and finally pounding the piece flat with a hammer.
The real artistic process begins after all that work, when complex patterns are drawn onto the metal with chalk and carved out, using such simple tools as a hammer and chisel. The final touches are added using a steel brush, to shine the metal, and a topcoat of rust preventative to ensure the work can stand the test of time!
Read more about It's Cactus HERE
Our beautiful Turkish lamps are handmade using traditional techniques that can be traced back thousands of years. First, large sheets of colorful glass are cut into pieces that are mounted on a clear glass base. Applied with a clear adhesive, they are then grouted with a bonding paste and left to dry. When they are ready, each lamp is smoothed of sharp edges (the only mechanized part of the process) and attached to a brass or bronze base. Because each lamp is made by hand, no two are exactly the same.
There are only subtle differences between modern lamps and those of antiquity. Over the course of thousands of years, lamps have become slightly less heavy as excess material has been trimmed from the process. Older lamps may develop hairline fractures as they are heated and cooled with everyday use, though they hold up incredibly well over time. After all, these lamps have been around for 5,000 years!
The term “evil eye” refers both to the cause of misfortune as well as the amulets that protect against it. Giving someone the “evil eye” means to look at them with spite or envy, casting a curse of misfortune on them, accidentally or on purpose. The solution? evil eye amulets. Traditionally dark blue, they reflect the evil eye stare back at the perpetrator, protecting the person who is wearing it against ill wishes or disaster.
The evil eye symbol dates back centuries and across many cultures, but we source ours from Turkey. They can be worn or displayed in the home, usually by an entrance to ward off the evil eye and keep the space full of positive, balanced energy.
Some of our designs also feature the hamsa sign, which looks like a hand positioned right side up or upside down. Dating back to Mesopotamia, upside down it is a symbol of health, luck, happiness, and good fortune. Right side up it is also an additional protection against the evil eye. It is a common symbol in Jewish, Berber, and Arabic cultures.