Styles come and go but scarves remain. Draped, wrapped, knotted, or carefree they define a look. Our artisan scarves are crafted in an array of fibers from shimmering silk to handspun cottons and wools. They showcase a world of woven diversity recorded on backstrap looms or rendered in dyed threads to create jaspe or ikat patterns. Explore our unique collection of handmade and handcrafted artisan scarves to find your own textile treasure.
The Village Council
Your answers straight from the village experts
Hand-washing and dry cleaning are the most common ways to care for and clean shawls. Many of our alpaca shawls specifically indicate dry-cleaning or hand-washing with cold water. Because shawls are delicate, a garment bag is a good way to prevent damage. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat. As always, it is important to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric of your shawl.
The great thing about shawls is that they are versatile. One can find a shawl for every season. Warmth is often based on the tightness of the weave and the type of material used. Alpaca fiber is known for its thermal capacity and provides an optimal degree of warmth. Sheep wool also acts as an insulator, absorbing moisture and creating a feeling of coziness for the wearer. Shawls made of cashmere and pashmina are light and thin, yet still provide a high degree of warmth. In Mexico, shawls made from San Juan Chamula sheep keep one warm and comfortable.
Comfort is always a question of preference, but certain fabrics lend themselves to softness and warmth. Shawls from the Andes are made from super soft alpaca fibers, and provide wearers a high level of comfort. Similarly, in Thailand and Bali, silk shawls are always favorites. Depending on ones climate, particular shawls may be preferable. Central American shawls made from cotton and rayon keep wearers cool in warm climates, whereas bamboo and acrylic shawls are great for cold weather. During hot summers, Indian shawls made of modal, silk, and viscose are a perfect option, and merino wool and cashmere are ideal for winter. West Africa stands by the luxurious comfort of their 100% cotton shawls, and Mexico prioritizes comfort with their beautiful wool designs.
It depends on what you mean by handmade. We support artisans who work in the ancient traditions of their ancestors, crafting items by hand, with patience and love. But techniques vary among shawl makers. Embroidery, hand-painting, stitching, and sewing are often part of the process. Some artisans do use power looms when crafting their shawls, but even in those instances, there is no mega-factory or mass production line behind the garment. The beauty, creativity, and inspiration for each shawl comes from the artists own heart. Our product descriptions will always specify if an item is hand-woven, hand-knit, or otherwise.
The shawl comes to us full of history, culture, and heritage. Each region invests its shawls with different symbols, patterns, and designs. Some shawls, like those in West Africa and the Andes, feature linear and geometric shapes, clean lines and patterns that have been passed down through the centuries. In Bali, we find elaborate batik designs, a technique that makes use of alternating dye and wax to block color. In Central America, embroidered and woven shawls incorporate designs inspired by corn, butterflies, and birds. Floral patterns are very popular in Indian shawls, particularly in pashminas from Kashmir. Gujarati shawls often depict geometric shapes, and artisans increasingly incorporate contemporary designs through hand-painted fabric. Thailand also integrates floral patterning, often using the yok dok technique, a brocade style that leaves the fabric slightly raised. This emphasis on brocade is also evident in Mexican shawls, with lavish designs in the form of frets, flowers and geometric figures, all inspired by pre-Hispanic cultures.
Fibers, dyes, and fabrics come together in innovative, unique ways during the creation of a shawl. Different regions rely on resources that are readily available and have cultural significance. In West Africa, 100% cotton and rayon frequently make their appearances in shawls. In Bali and Thailand, soft silk lends a luxuriousness to the shawl. Central American artisans incorporate bamboo rayon, while India makes use of wool and silk. Mexico boasts an array of vibrant natural and cotton yarn dyes, and artisans from the Andes weave shawls out of soft alpaca fiber.
Throughout the world, the shawl is considered a venerated garment, made by hand from techniques passed down through generations. The methods for making traditional shawls vary as widely as the regions from which they come. But most employ some method of hand knitting or weaving on a loom. In the Andes, for example, crocheting and flat weaving on a treadle loom are common techniques. In Central America, backstrap and foot looms are popular with artisans. In Bali, one finds intricate sewing, in addition to weaving. And in India and Thailand, practices of hand-painting fabric, batik, and the use of natural dyes are intimately tied to the creation of shawls.
Answers to your most pressing questions about handmade shawls
Indian Jamawar Wool Shawl with Paisley Motifs, "Himalayan Heirloom" From knitted alpaca wool to delicate batik silk, earth tones to bright hues, handmade shawls are a beautiful way to integrate art into your wardrobe. The techniques used to... read more
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Featured Reviews on Scarves
Baby Alpaca Texture in Blue
Gave this as a gift. Wished I had bought one for myself! Very pretty in person and made a wonderful gift!
Another gift for my sister for Christmas. Again she said she really liked it and that it would go with almost anything.
Better than the picture!
I gave this to a friend for Christmas and she loves it! Its lightweight, warm and brighter than the picture shows. It is absolutely lovely, a great price and a greater mission. You cannot go wrong with this purchase.
Earth-Tone 100% Alpaca Wrap Scarf from Peru, "Inca Earth"$64.95
Evoking the textiles of the ancient Inca, this wrap scarf is created by Ana Fernandez in Peru. She selects luxuriously soft 100% alpaca wool, which she uses to knit this lovely cold weather accessory. It features stripes and vine patterns in taupe and other hues.
Reversible Variegated Brown and Black Alpaca Blend Scarf, "Marbled Beauty"$39.99
Andean artisan Waldo Berrios crafts a knit scarf with an intriguing variegated pattern. Streaks in a spice hue swirl against a black background, and since the accessory is reversible, the other side presents the same design, with a spice backdrop dappled with black veins. The versatile scarf features an alpaca, acrylic, and wool blend for softness and warmth.
Textured 100% Baby Alpaca Wrap Scarf in Black from Peru, "Wavy Texture in Black"$34.99
The wavy texture of this wrap scarf makes it a fashionable companion. Designed by Alfredo Falcon, the scarf is crafted of 100% baby alpaca wool and finished by hand. This elegant scarf features a solid color in black for a lightweight, tantalizing accessory. Baby alpaca refers to the fine fleece from the season's first shearing.
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At Novica, we have gathered a wide selection of unique scarves hand-woven by talented artisans around the world. Keep cozy with our luxurious alpaca wool scarves from Peru. This fiber was valued by the Incas and the tradition has been passed down many generations to ensure warmth during the cold seasons. For those hot summer days, keep fresh and accessorize with any of our silk scarves decorated with a wax-resist dyeing technique known as batik. The natural sheen and texture of silk can be easily dyed, allowing unique designs to shimmer with the colors of your outfit. Our artisans are masterful weavers who create one-of-a-kind scarves just for you!