From Ethiopian looms to American homes


October 05, 2003|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

It began as a simple friendship. Ellen Dorsch, an American health-care consultant, was working in Ethiopia, and Menbere Alemayehu (right) was the wife of one of Dorsch's Ethiopian co-workers. It wasn't long before Dorsch pitched an unusual idea for a business to Alemayehu, a dressmaker. And so last year Creative Women was born, a woman-owned and -operated company that creates and sells handicrafts and textiles.

In Ethiopia, Alemayehu, the designer, hires women to make intricately designed wall hangings, pillows, runners, table mats and cloths, shawls and scarves from fabric woven on traditional Ethiopian looms. And Vermont-based Dorsch does the marketing, selling their items wholesale to various stores and shops throughout the U.S.

Products are available in a variety of colors, including gold, teal, copper, beige, burgundy, royal blue and lemon, and in traditional Ethiopian patterns. Prices vary from store to store, but range from about $50 to $250.

Creative Women is working on a new line of products made from raw silk.

Table mats are available at the Baltimore Museum of Art Shop, 10 Art Museum Drive (410-396-6338). Runners, pillows, wall hangings and other items can be found at the Phoenix, 1514 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington (202-338-4404) or Zawadi, 1524 U St. N.W., Washington (202-232-2214). For more information and other locations, call 802-372-4183 or visit

The look of stone without a heavy price

Love the look of engineered stone for your countertops but afraid of the price? Try laminate. Wilsonart International has just launched the Topaz collection, a line of eight scratch-resistant laminate patterns that replicate the look and feel of engineered stone.

Colors include gold-brown, light green, dark blue-purple, a beige mix, deep green with blue, and charcoal gray and brown. Prices range from $30 to $50 per linear foot installed, or $1.75 to $2.50 per square foot, if you do the installing.

The Topaz collection is available at Lowe's, Home Depot and specialty home stores.

For more information, call 800-433-3222 or visit

Cutting trees down to size

If tropical storm Isabel left you with trees that need attention, you'll want to check out the new Timberman 45, an 18-inch chain saw made by Homelite. A 45-cc, 2-cycle engine powers up this bad boy, which is ideal for heavy-duty cutting of tree limbs or basic tree-trimming.

The 13-pound chain saw features a user-friendly ZipStart system, an automatic chain brake and an anti-vibration handle. The Timberman 45 retails for $169 at Home Depot.

Visit or call 800-CHAINSAW for more information.


* See functional and sculptural works by 21 local clay artists, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday at the exhibit Celebrate Clay at Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave. Pieces include sculptural teapots and original earthenware by Noi Volkov (pictured above is Volkov's Van Gogh), figurative sculpture by Mary Cloonan and Jewell Gross Brenneman, and wall works by Lauren Levine and Carol Grant. Call 410-578-1919 or visit

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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