World renowned artist Banksy has teamed up with Love Welcomes to commission women living in refugee camps to hand sew mats using life vests found on beaches in Greece. The mats have the word ‘welcome’ woven into them using the bright orange material.
The mat was launched in Banksy’s innovative show called Gross Domestic Product in Croydon, London - and instantly hit the news headlines.
Love Welcomes Co-founder Abi Hewitt said: “In creating this new Welcome Mat, Banksy has helped refugees to find self worth, dignity and hope. Living in a refugee camp shouldn’t stop your dreams, this is keeping hope alive. Each time you buy a Welcome Mat you’re supporting a refugee and their family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war, one stitch at a time.“
Q and A
Due to the high demand for the mats and the unique nature of their production, we receive a number of regular inquiries, and have captured the answers to these questions below:
Banksy designed all aspects of the mat and each mat is hand-crafted by refugee women, which means every mat is personally unique. There will be slight human variations with every product. The profits support refugees in Greece.
Pre-orders and Delivery
Every purchase is a pre-order. There is a complicated process of producing and moving mats from the camps to our distribution points, so the delivery of mats can take a number of months.
We do not set a delivery date at any point but do try to keep people updated on the process. Once the mat is on a van leaving our warehouse we share a tracking number via email to every customer .
All mats in the second run were delayed due to the global pandemic of Covid-19 and the fact that the camp we work in was put in lock down after people tested positive for coronavirus. We are delighted that Love Welcomes supporters have generously donated funds to support the women and families whilst they are on lock down and you can find out more about our response here.
Each mat comes with a Gross Domestic Product label but is not be eligible for a COA from Banksy. Some of the mats have the label hand stitched on the back and some have the label attached to the side.
Runs and Numbers
When a run of mats are available for sale then we directly contact people on the waiting list via email.
There are 500 mats per run. When we release a run we email 1000 people who have been on the waiting list the longest and also randomly select a number of people from the rest of the list. This group then has an opportunity to purchase mats until the run is sold out. We believe this is the fairest way to deal with the demand.
The latest run, released in February 2021, offers people the chance to buy one mat only before they are sold out.
We do have far more people on the waiting list than mats available so the demand for this product is very high.
Each mat is sequentially numbered and they are all individually handmade with slight human differences. The mats for sale did not start at '1'.
It is not an “edition” as we can only make as many as we have the materials for, so at this time we cannot say that the product is limited or unlimited. They won’t last forever but of course we want to make as many as we can as it’s employment for the refugee women.
Due to demand pressures we are unable to notify anyone in advance of a sale or let them know where they are numbered on the waiting list. If someone is not able to purchase a mat then their name goes back on the waiting list.
Everyone who has purchased a mat is taken off the waiting list. They are able to sign up again if they wish.
We do ask that anyone wanting to purchase a mat stays patient and awaits the opportunity to buy the product from Love Welcomes. This is the only way that we can guarantee funding goes to the refugee women who made the mat.
Support for our work
Due to the complex nature of our work with refugees we are unable to take on volunteers to support our work. The best way to support the women we work with is to make a donation to our work and this goes directly to supporting the refugee community in Greece.
Are you based outside the UK?
Please keep in mind, when you purchase from Love Welcomes (including the Banksy Welcome Mat), you may be charged import costs.