Home / News & Media / Press Releases / Gardiner Celebrates International Women’s Day

Gardiner Celebrates International Women’s Day

4 years ago

Gardiner Museum partners with Far & Wide Collective to showcase and sell handmade crafts made by women from post-conflict and emerging economies in support of International Women’s Day

TORONTO, FEBRUARY 25, 2015—In honour of International Women’s Day, the Gardiner Museum will be showcasing and selling unique handmade crafts and items, including jewellery, in partnership with Far & Wide Collective, an organization that empowers artisans, many who are women, from post-conflict and emerging economies such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Swaziland.

“The Gardiner is pleased to be working with Far & Wide Collective to feature the exceptional work of women artisans from post-conflict and emerging economies, and the opportunity to support these talented individuals,” says Kelvin Browne, Executive Director & CEO of the Gardiner Museum. “There is a striking parallel between the important work of Far & Wide Collective today and the Newcomb Pottery Enterprise over a hundred years ago: they help women realize their potential as creators, give them opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, and support their independence and influence in their communities.”

This includes women like Nasreen Ismail, a wife and mother of seven children from Pakistan whose embroidery skills now allow her to support her family and send her children to school, and Shugufa Yousofzai, a 28 year old woman from Afghanistan who has built up a highly successful jewellery business.

The retail show will take place in the popular Gardiner Shop as well as the Lecture Hall and will feature unique handmade pieces including emerald and lapis jewellery, silk scarves repurposed from vintage saris, and a selection of beaded collar necklaces made from 100% recycled magazines.

The Founder of Far & Wide Collective, Toronto-based Hedvig Christine Alexander, will be on hand on International Women’s Day to discuss the products and the fascinating stories behind them. Alexander, who spent seven years in Afghanistan working in international development, was confronted by the fact that talented craftswomen and men in the region were often unable to connect with buyers abroad. In 2013, she launched Far & Wide Collective as a way to bring a new segment of makers to the international market.

“Many women in developing economies have not had access to formal education, but have been taught a skill such as embroidery,” says Alexander. “Despite their talent they struggle to access markets as a result of barriers like shipping costs and lack of access to online platforms. Supporting these women and empowering them financially can have an enormous impact on their lives and on the community as a whole.”

Far & Wide Collective’s mission speaks to the same spirit of empowerment and innovation as the Gardiner’s current special exhibition, Women, Art, & Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. A touring exhibit by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Newcomb Art Gallery of Tulane University, the show tells the inspirational story of a group of women in the American South who formed one of the premiere arts and crafts brands of the post-Civil War Era. Set against a backdrop of social change and women’s rights, the show features more than 125 iconic objects of pottery, textiles, metalwork, jewellery, bookbinding, and historical artifacts. The Gardiner is the only Canadian stop on the exhibition tour.

The event on March 8 will give visitors the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day by exploring an important moment in the history of female artisans and entrepreneurs, as well as supporting an organization that is continuing the work of empowering woman in the craft industry today. The Gardiner Shop will continue to carry Far & Wide Collective products until the close of Women, Art, & Social Change on May 18.


Far & Wide Collective is an online marketplace dedicated to connecting some of the world’s most exceptional artisans in developing economies to the international market. We offer the best-handcrafted clothing, accessories, home décor and gift items, all ethically sourced. Each purchase made supports entrepreneurship, small-business growth and livelihoods in our partner communities. For more information, please visit farandwidecollective.ca.


Located in the heart of Toronto at 111 Queen’s Park Crescent, the Gardiner Museum is Canada’s only ceramics museum, and one of the world’s great specialty museums. The Gardiner is committed to making a contribution to the medium of ceramics, as well as the community it serves, and is an inviting destination that inspires and connects people, art and ideas through clay.

The Gardiner’s permanent collection comprises several extraordinary collections from sophisticated, dedicated collectors, making it one of the most significant centres of ceramics in North America. The breadth of the Museum’s holdings include pottery from the Ancient Americas, rare examples of Meissen, Du Paquier and Chelsea porcelain, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese and Japanese-inspired porcelain, to contemporary ceramics —including an exceptional donation from contemporary ceramics collector, Raphael Yu. For more information, details on exhibitions, events, workshops, clay classes, and more, please visit: www.gardinermuseum.com.

For more information, for details on exhibitions, events, workshop, clay classes, and more, please visit: www.gardinermuseum.com.


For more information and images, please contact:

Rachel Weiner
Gardiner Museum
Communications and Volunteer Assistant

Antonio Tan
Gardiner Museum
Marketing Manager

Similar Articles