Made In... Luang Prabang, Laos

Located on the banks of the Mekong River this extraordinary Living Crafts centre and award winning social enterprise Ock Pop Tok is a hub of expertise in both Laotian weaving and using natural dyes. I was fortunate enough to spend time here developing natural colours from local plants as part of ongoing colour research.

After time spent chopping, grinding and boiling a variety of leaves and roots picked from the garden, an extraordinary range of wonderful colours were created from Teak leaves, Sappan wood, Annato, Jack fruit, Indian Trumpet Flowers, Lemon grass and Turmeric.

Travelling up the Nam Ou River

Travelling up the Nam Ou River

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Teak Leaves

Teak Leaves

Annatto Seeds

Annatto Seeds

Jack Fruit

Jack Fruit

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Silk threads dyed with natural dyes

Silk threads dyed with natural dyes

MADE IN ...BURAIDAH, Saudi Arabia

Over the past few months I have been working closely with embroidery artisans from Herfah Women's Cooperative by supporting the artisans on commissions for luxury hotels. This has provided income, economic independence and pride in the local heritage.

For the project itself, we have been developing work taking inspiration from nomadic traditions and regional textiles.

Working with traditional embroidered imagery from nomadic traditions we identified the flower and sprig motifs inspired by desert plants. Amazing contemporary design from an incredible culture.  

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MADE IN... QASSIM, SAUDI ARABIA

For the past few months I have been working on an ongoing project with Turquoise Mountain Trust collaborating with several women's weaving cooperatives in Qassim.

We are identifying and working with symbols rooted in Bedouin culture and heritage. Working on horizontal looms using the traditional sedu weaving technique, we are reinterpreting traditional patterns and motifs to create contemporary design for interiors.

MADE IN...AL HASA,SAUDI ARABIA

Zari gold embroidery is traditionally done by men in Bisht cloth hand-woven from the wool of lambs and camels. It is used principally on gowns for ceremonial and other special occasions. Working with Turquoise Mountain Trust, I have been collaborating with embroiderers in Al Hasa to adapt this heritage technique for new products.

MADE IN....... AIT HAMZA,MID ATLAS MOUNTAINS,MOROCCO

As part of the British Council Common Thread Residency I spent several weeks living with an artisan  weaver Kenza Oulaghda collaborating on new product and learning about the incredible heritage of the Amazigh people.

Kenza  described about how secret messages had been sent by weaving the Tamazight language and symbols into rugs .The idea that that patterns and shapes could be arranged to communicate hidden messages and that an everyday object, the rug could carry such stories captured my imagination. The Association of Tithrite is a cooperative of 20 women based in a small mud building close to the mosque in the centre of the village. The weave “shed” has space for 3-4 vertical looms, it is far from spacious, there is no electricity so the weavers work during the day light hours only and return home at midday and times of prayer. Central to the village, the “weave shed” is a place not just for production but somewhere the women of the village come together to chat, laugh, sing and share stories whilst weaving, spinning and setting up looms. 

It was in this spirit of cooperation, collaboration and exchange that I became part of, which shaped our work and our conversations around the symbols woven into the brightly colored carpets. I collected stories from each of the women asking them about the motifs that held particular significance to them. Many of the woven symbols are associated with protection from evil spirits and have roots in the nomadic heritage of the Amazigh people. Motifs include triangles, diamonds, zigzags, stylized flies, birds, and the shape of a saw as well as others symbols linked to fertility, and prosperity such as bird tracks or animal claws. This wonderful jumble of shapes and patterns- could also be found on doorways, walls and in the tattoos on the hands and faces of the weavers. Their stories were everywhere I just had to look…

In Amazigh society the weaver, the wool and the loom are all revered. The beliefs and superstitions around the loom allowed me an insight into this magical world. The loom was blessed with songs and prayer before and during weaving, then when the weaving was cut down, the warp threads were splashed with salt and water to keep away bad spirits.








Source: http://design.britishcouncil.org/blog/2015...

MADE IN...... SEGOU MALI

I was once again fortunate to collaborate with Boubacar Doumbia of Ndomo on a new range of products using the indigenous "bogalanfini " mud technique. Working this time in his amazing atelier in Segou , Mali where the traditional architecture , surroundings and working atmosphere all contributed to great collaboration. 

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