The International Village Shop is a self-initiated, collaborative and trans-local network of shops in which new and existing goods from rural communities are being made and traded.

Some shops are temporary, others permanent. They take on the shape of market stalls, honesty boxes, trading tables and roll-out blankets. Most of the shops can be found in villages, but the shop also frequently enters the art world.

The goods in the shop are collectively developed and produced, and stem from group processes in the different rural communities we work with. Each group decides what could be a good product to represent and embody a particularity of their village, and the new goods make direct use of local knowledge, skills, and remaining natural resources or means of production. The process is critical, productive and open, reflecting on notions of the ‘local’, ‘traditions’ and ‘identity’ as important but evolving signifiers.

A new Village Good is linked to the place with a strong narrative: a local joke about villagers and frogs in Höfen led to the making of a porcelain Frogbutterspoon; socialist working-class histories related to peat extraction informed the Beestachtige Schat; an act of spontaneous communal resistance is commemorated in the Ballykinlar Caravan Pot; and the village of Ohne uses their strong sense of village solidarity to tend a linfield for a year and produce precious notebooks bound in linen .

Frogbutterspoon, Doily Bags, Clayfruit with Noses, Spruchbeutel, Jar Lamp, Tinned Clay, Linseed Oil Towers, Fanas Arrow, Potato Sleeper, a ball is a ball (together with public works), Pantry Linen, Parametenmeterware, Ohner Leinen, Kombis, Embroidered Working Clothes, Ittinger Ei, Farmers´Chinaware, Huangbian Bag, Linen Notebook, Zvizzchi Ceramics, Fufu Bowls, Caravan Pot, Höfer Lace, Janus die Wolfskerze, Esch F6, Wild Treasure, Twisted Bugle, Confectie Boxes.

Accomapnying Village Produce Films document the making of many of the goods: without much talking they show the landscapes the goods come from, the makers doing their work and the materials used. A Promotional Film, made with residents of the Russian village Zvizzchi, highlights some of the shop classics and the very many ways they can be used and interpreted.

Places where the shop has been in the past include:
Intermedia Madrid, Kunstverein Pforzheim, Alt Gatow, TENT in Rotteram, Kartause Ittingen, Jerwood Space, Ohne, Langenthal, Royal Academy in London (together with public works), Campo Adentro in Madrid, Potato Festival, Santiago de Chile, Leeuwarden, Höfen, Boxberg, Springhornhof Neuenkirchen, Kultivator, Tate Britain, Lawson Park (together with Grizedale Arts), Nordhorn, San Francisco, Berlin, the supermarket of Fanas, Eastside Projects in Birmingham, Accra Open Air Stock Exchange, Museum for Contemporary Art in Leipzig, the theatre BRUT in Vienna, Archstoyanie Festival in Zvizzchi, Bogorodskoe Exhibition Hall in Moskow, Gaststätte Timmer in Ohne, Tuinen Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart, PAV in Torino, Beetsterzwaag.


The shop has its own website: www.internationalvillageshop.net


The International Village Shop has been set up as a joint initiative by Myvillages, public works and Grizedale Arts in 2007. The website went online in 2010 to collate the different versions of the shop and to document the making and distribution of new collective goods. The shop is now run by Myvillages.