From War to Peace
Bullet shell casings aren't the likeliest materials when it comes to jewelry, but Craftworks Cambodia uses them to tell the decades-old story of a previously civil war-torn country that is still feeling the effects today.
The 1970s were years of turmoil in Cambodia, where the radical Khmer Rouge regime wreaked havoc. One of the most violent reigns of the 20th century, it was responsible for about 2 million deaths through execution, famine, and forced labor. People were killed for speaking foreign languages and possessing any form of modern technology such as eyeglasses or wristwatches. Populations were wiped out, and it wasn't until 1979 that Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia and overthrew the atrocious regime.
Thirty years later, the effects still linger, as about a third of the country's population lives below the national poverty line. The countryside is still littered with bomb and bullet casings, which eight Craftworks Cambodia artisans recycle to create beautiful jewelry that sustains their livelihood and furthers their valuable skills. The casings are molded and hammered into cuffs with a story.
These trained ironwork artisans live in an underprivileged community and have been given the opportunity to provide for their families and earn a reliable income through market access. Some of them are even children of those killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers.
These artisans are able to take products of tragedy and horror and transform them into unique handmade pieces that represent peace, preserve traditional Cambodian skills, and inspire others.
These inspiring brass accessories can be found here! Which one catches your eye?
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