Haiti Artisan Project

Einstein Wood

Einstein Albert is a Haitian craftsmen who known in Haiti for his superb wooden crafts. He designs bowls and utensils made from wood that is indigenous to the Aquin, Nippes and Gonave regions of Haiti. The pieces are treated with up to ten layers of lacquer to bring out the brilliant hues of the natural wood. The durable items can sustain heat and cold and are easily cleaned. Einstein has a workshop just outside Port-au-Prince and his bowls and utensils have become a sensation around the world.
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The Idea

Einstein’s parents came to Haiti from Jamaica in the 1940’s and founded the woodworking business, developing their own tree plantations of Obechee tree as word spread of the quality and craftsmanship of their product and demand increased. They now have multiple tree plantations from which they draw their wood.

The Craft

Every Einstein Wood product is handcrafted. It begins as a shape and a form, and every product has unique variations, lending to its inherent beauty. Each item is inspected, cleaned with putty, and then coated with up to 10 layers of lacquer to give the naturally lightwood a rich, dark, chocolate finish. All of Einstein Albert bowls are hand made by Einstein Albert, one of the premiers wood craftsmen of Haiti.

The Impact

Einstein Albert’s workshop is located in Mariani, the eastern edge of Port-au-Prince, where he employs several apprentices. The woodworking center averages 40 employees although, at their busiest times, they employ as many as 80. 60% of their work force is women. The women are primarily responsible for the sanding. The men are engaged in aspects of production requiring heavier labor.


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“Haiti brings out every emotion you have – despair, compassion, love and hope – as well as the excitement of what’s possible with some heartfelt connection and creative collaboration. You must admire these people.”



The Mission of Einstein Wood

Urban Zen aims to help develop, market and present the work of Haiti artisans to the western world. As an ambassador to the preservation of Haiti’s artistry and expression, Donna Karan and a community of supporters have been traveling to Haiti at every opportunity, working one-on-one with the artists and manufacturers. “The artistry and skill is breathtaking,” Donna says. “I am so inspired by what I am seeing and the people with whom I’m working with. I couldn’t be more excited.”

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