International Village Shop
Various locations across and ongoing
July 2007

The International Village Shop creates temporary and permanent trading platforms for the exchange of local produce across a network of rural and urban spaces.


International Village Shop is an open-source-network.
If you want to be a partner and set up your own (temporary) shop? Sent an email: mail[at]
Grizedale Arts
Kunstmuseum Thurgau, CH
Kunstverein Pforzheim
public works

From October 2010 this open-source-network has an own website.

The International Villlage Shop doesn’t exist as a single shop, but through the ongoing set up of temporary and semi-permanent trading platforms by the different groups involved. Settings include the Honesty Box at Lawson Park, an annual stall at a village fete in Höfen, the Boxberg Products Display in Boxberg, a one-hour shop as part of a presentation in San Francisco, a shelf in a waiting room in a veterinary practice in Friesland, etc.

The products for the shop come from a wide range of sources and contributors, and are linked to the places where the shop takes place. They have a strong local narrative and identity, and are mostly developed collaboratively. The product development is rooted in stories, materials and skills that are particular to the village. Villages have always been a place of intensive production, from agriculture to meat and dairy production, gardening, fruit and vegetable processing etc. Today the meaning of agriculture and associated products have declined dramatically, but the village remains a rich resource for numerous materials, craft and labour skills and creative thinking.

The shop trades the products across cultural and language borders. Together with the products short film documentaries about their background are made. Their intention is to communicate the particularities of each product and its production. The films are 4 – 6 minutes long and focus on „handling“ as a form of explaining. Each film starts with a brief visual introduction to the geographical place. It then follows the producers and their everyday routines and activities that inform the products.

The collection of films shows the multiple places and individuals involved in the overall project. The different scales on the International Village Shop, from international links, to the individual village, to private production sites are captured in the films. They are shown during shop settings, and explain the extended network of producers and production sites that make the International Village Shop.

The shop, the making of new produce and the films are all ongoing.

The joint shop initiative derives from a residency by at Grizedale Arts in 2007.
Ideas and proposals from the residency have been documented on the blog on the Grizedale Arts website.

From an earlier e mail conversation between Kathrin and Adam:


I left quite a few Höfer Goods and Horsemilk products with Michael last Friday for the Rochelle School Honesty Box. Also left green frames with a brief introtext to go into the box together with the produce.
Michael wants to put things in today, and watch how fast which product sells.
We made some Shoreditch prices and let s see if it sells.

I like the multiplication of the HONESTY BOX, e.g. as Wapke suggests at the Witte de With street in Rotterdam, and in her village.
I also would like to start one in our office at public works, and maybe one next spring in Höfen.
There could be some very simple guidelines for the extension of those boxes:
- they happen at places where we are active (a similar rule that Wapke has for her soil drillings)
- they are made from recycled material on location

The growing number of boxes can also be seen as an extension of the "Village Kiosk" proposal.


Karen and Nina are doing an Honesty Stall in their Northern art prize show in Leeds next month and are bringing/making a bunch more Japanese stuff.

Name and network would be good to formalise, maybe 'Pay what you think is right' is a term we have used.

I am making some japanese styled tea bowls centred around the idea of adding value to objects based on the Japanese concept of Meingei - very close to the idea of value in art. So the idea is the bowl is valueless until it is selected by a collector, it then becomes high value. The rules of mingei are all about how the object is produced in the first place, ie anonymous, part of mass production by hand, in normal use etc. I am interested in the idea that the purchaser basically pays what they think they are worth, ie how much value they bring to the object - sort of like therapy language, invest in yourself etc.
So maybe the honesty stall could be called 'pay what you are worth'

Also local to us there has opened an honesty cafe, pay what your wallet can afford or exchange work in the garden - seems to be working very well.

I had a chat with the design museum the other day I think they would be interested in having a stall too - maybe we need to put a cap on the number as it gets hard to service so many in an interesting way.

RE product: I would like to start to generate some cross over products, I am doing a schnapps bottle with Christoph Keller. Should we try to make this for Rochelle?

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