Feature Article Crafting meaning through collaboration

by Alexandra Doughty

This year saw the return to Singapore for the Asian chapter of France’s famous Maison et Objet decor and design show. Smaller in scale to the twice annual event in Paris, M+O Asia still attracted a strong contingent of exhibitors from Europe including Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and France.

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expression, identity & empowerment through design

articles : craft+design Monkeybiz making magic

My recent visit to Cape Town was a feast of art, craft and design, as my stay not only coincided with the annual Design Indaba Conference and Expo but also the second annual Guild Design Fair.

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articles : craft+design Making real connections

Introducing the ‘Making Real Connections’ series which aims to provide information and advice to buyers, merchandisers and marketers wanting to connect and promote Fair Trade and hand-made products to their customers.

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craft network : asia : vietnam : cambodia Mekong+

Mekong+ a social enterprise which specialises in high quality, hand crafted quilts and accessories. Their Indo-Chine inspired quilt ranges use patchwork, piecing and intricate stitch details to create a contemporary aesthetic.

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craft network : asia : myanmar Pomelo

Pomelo is a not for profit social enterprise, working with Myanmar artisans, disadvantaged groups and small local businesses to design, develop and sell quality handmade products with a contemporary twist.

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craft network : asia : vietnam : cambodia Mitsein

Mitsein collaborates with communities of artisans in Quang Nam, Vietnam and Takeo, Cambodia; two regions that still have low income averages and an ongoing struggle to resist the pull towards cities and factory work.

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craft network : africa : south-africa Woza Moya

Woza Moya is the income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre. Based in the Valley of 1000 hills near Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Woza Moya began over 10 years ago with 5 beaders making AIDS ribbons at a local church. Woza Moya has now grown to support and empower more than 350 crafters, most of whom have 5-10 dependants.

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craft network : africa : kenya Ocean Sole

Passionate about the ocean, its ecosystems and marine wildlife, Ocean Sole recycle flip-flops that are found littered on beaches and in waterways of Kenya. Every single Ocean Sole product is handcrafted to protect the oceans and teach the world about the threats of marine debris.

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craft network : africa : tanzania : burundi : rwanda Womencraft

WomenCraft is a community-driven social enterprise operating from Ngara, Tanzania, within the hills of Mafiga Matatu, a remote tri-border region between Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi.

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craft network : africa : south-africa Africa!Ignite

Africa!Ignite creates sustainable opportunities for craft producers across KwaZulu-Natal to earn an income from their craft. We market and sell a range of contemporary handcrafted products inspired by the exquisite workmanship, the vibrant colours and the iconic designs that characterise Zulu craft heritage.

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craft network : africa : morocco Carpet of Life

The Carpet of Life concept is based on a traditional Moroccan carpet-making technique called Boucherouite, commonly made by families from a nomadic background. Using this authentic craft handed down through generations, women from different villages in the oasis of M’hamid El Ghizlane transform unwanted and disused clothes into vibrant and inspiring carpets.

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craft network : africa : south-africa Monkeybiz

Monkeybiz is an economic upliftment project dedicated to reviving the traditional craft of African Beadwork and empowering women to become financially independent. Since 2000, Monkeybiz has supported its 450 bead artists to continue creating these unique artworks. All profits from the sale of artworks go back into the community.

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craft network : asia : cambodia Artisans d'Angkor

Artisans d'Angkor is a Cambodian company originally established as an offshoot of the educational project called Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle, aiming at providing professional skills to communities with limited educational opportunities.

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craft network : africa : cameroon Bamenda Handicraft

Bamenda Handicraft is a non-profit organization working to enhance and encourage the cultural heritage of Cameroon’s Northwest region through quality craft production. Established in 1964, people realized that local handicraft skills were rapidly disappearing and believed in maintaining the Northwest’s traditional culture of the Grasslands people.

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craft network : africa : swaziland Quazi Design

Quazi Design was founded in 2009 in a mission to create much needed employment in Swaziland, Southern Africa. Quazi Design started with the concept of a simple rolled paper bead earring displayed on a card, employing one artisan, believing in the potential to have a positive impact.

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craft network : africa : south-africa Projekt

Projekt is a design-based fair trade initiative based in Cape Town, South Africa, established to create new opportunities for disadvantaged craftswomen.

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craft network : asia : bangladesh Basha

Meaning ‘house of hope’ in Bengali, Basha was founded to provide secure employment for women at risk and survivors of trafficking. Each woman's story varies, but for each her circumstances have put her at high risk of harm or resulted in her being exploited. Basha works with employees’ children too, ensuring the cycle of poverty and victimisation is broken.

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craft network : africa : swaziland Baobab Batik

Founded in 1991, Baobab Batik is a social enterprise based in Swaziland, Southern Africa. Since then Baobab Batik has evolved into a thriving enterprise employing 35 artisans full time, with 50% of profits reinvested into the company and the community.

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craft network : asia : laos Ock Pop Tok

Ock Pop Tok is a Lao­-based social enterprise that produces beautiful, handmade textiles and artisan products. Founded in 2000, Ock Pop Tok has grown from a small shop selling only a few designs, to becoming one of the significant textile and artisan institutions of Laos and South East Asia.

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craft network : africa : rwanda Indego Africa

Indego Africa is an innovative non-profit social enterprise & lifestyle brand that supports women in Rwanda through economic empowerment and education. Indego Africa’s mission is to break intergenerational cycles of poverty by providing female artisans with the tools and support to reclaim their own futures, flourish as independent businesswomen, and drive development in their communities.

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