Market Research

Think Local, Act Global

While the number of those productive families is growing, they became widely known and wanted by foreign visitors, but their selling’s are deteriorating due to the repetitive productivity and the return does not cover the capital, the cost of rough material and manufacturing. Therefore, I started to build the business plan according to what was their income when they were selling simple products and how it is going to be an advantageous for them If they used their skill, the material and developed the product to cover a new market that can be globally distributed.

 

1.      Supply Chain:

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The journey of the supply chain shapes the value of the product itself, it is palpable that they define and embodiment the reward and succession factor, placing joy to the   farmer who grow the plant, to the weaver when he finalizes each piece, as well as the consumer who bought the quality of time and experience a pleasure when it is placed interiorly inside his home. Similarly, Peter Korn in his book ‘‘why we make things and why it matters’’ expresses how pleasurable he was when he observes the response of others who bought his products.

 

2.      BCG Matrix:

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The recent products they produce are considered now as cash cows, where it has a low market share and low market growth rate. As the product being planned to be published online, this new market is considered as the question mark, where I want it to be a star in future. As a start, it is difficult to grow a positive cash flow and a great market share where the market is very attractive. Therefore, I need to invest more to build a strong position in the market and in advertisements.

 

 

3. Defining the scope:  Levels of segmentation

 

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1. The Mass Market:

Think Global, Act Local

(worldwide) Selling online

(websites and phone applications)

2. Segment Market:

Convenience stores, Commercial and Residential.

 

 

 

Susan Hefuna

 

Cairotraces, 2017.  Palmwood structure, personal shot.  Withworth Gallery, Manchester

I went to the withworth gallery and met the great masterpieces designed by Heafun using palmwood. Her analysis of the Mashrabias and abstracting the details and returning them to their base, the point and the line was what distinguishes her sculptures. Her work addresses some of the most potent issues of our time: migration, movement and sensations of separation. Specifically, the series of palmwood structures, inspired by boxes seen on the streets of Hefuna’s native Cairo. What I found interesting is how the structure is gathered without using any adhesives, and how it is tight and strong where it cannot be moved or fall down. This as a result led me to think of using willow to adopt the same concept of construction but in a different way. And I resulted in several outcomes but was not satisfied with because I wanted to hold the materiality of the craft itself, keeping the idea pure and clear.

Concept Development

I started to think of making a symbolic sculpture, represent the Arabian Peninsula, and how the raise in temperature make you feel like you are melting

 

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It is not a finalized solved product, but this is a quick render, a simulation to approximate the idea only. After searching I found a very similar concept, woven glass pendant light, provided by designer glass mosaics. Afterward, and by mastering the skill personally, I started to experiment different types of methods, such as twining, fetching and plaiting. I also adopted a new method of weaving, which is twisting the leaves around the willows, and that led as well to different ideas some worked really well and others did not. With this experience of working with a collaborator, I learned to engage personally with the specialized craftsmen and be aware with the level of control with the subcontractors, how much communication and freedom they will have, as well as sensing what works aesthetically and practically and what will not. Although the professions would like to express themselves, I had to give parameters, as I thought to have an organic shape that is tricky to repeat it, but allowing consistency will prevent uncomfortable, incompatible outcome.

Learning by Doing:

Meeting with Cherry Chung, engaging with the material and mastering the skill personally

 

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Figure 1: Cherry Chung, while working in her workshop

 

 

When I met Cherry, I found some similarities with her and the basket weavers back in Saudi Arabia, both have not tried to step out of their comfort zone and have not try to experiment or build up something different event just for fun, even when she had a free time. She worked primarily with willow for many years. The techniques she knew did not always suit this new material, and we had to test new ways of weaving. Personally, I have not had a clear vision of what I wanted to outcome with, because I was afraid to be confined in a narrow range, but after getting involved with it I started to learn different techniques and it turns out to be more interesting. In fact, when Cherry suggested some books to read and view, they were really useful in bordering my perception, one of them was called “500 Baskets, A Celebration of the Basketmaker’s Art” written by Susan Kieffer. The other was “Bark, En Forunderlig varden”. Both contained great examples on using weaving techniques in an artistic aesthetically pleasing way. It was an opportunity to learn more on how elastic and flexible the material can be. And that gave me an idea to pick up a ready palm leave woven basket and start distorting it, in order to come up with something unfamiliar, but that did not work well.

Then I started to introduce a new material while weaving, which was 2mm wire cooper, but It also ended up slipping between the wholes. Afterward, I figured out that the material can hold it shape, after drying. So, I stepped forward and start wrapping palm leaves around a glassed vase and insert it into the microwave for a minute, the result was it holds the shape of the vase but the outcome was not interesting.

Initial Research

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I started to think of the previous units and pic up the project that were most interesting from my personal perspective, I realized therefore that It is all about sustainability of craftsmanship.

 

Many artists were important to the growth of contemporary basketry, each has developed his own way, trying to push the limits of strictly defined baskets and venturing into the art world. By investigating the material in a boarder way, they reflect their culture, awaking the senses in transforming a 2d object into a 3D, pleasing the eye and challenging the imagination. Presented here is part of the initial research I found interesting to look at.

Simple but elegant, they represent the trend I mentioned previously. The also kept the materiality and changed their functionality, by that they changed the product to implement a new market. And that led me to think of what I aim to do exactly, am I going to keep the material as it is, the process of weaving, and change the product only? Or keep the process only and add an unexpected material to a new product? In order to get an answer, I had to experiment using the material to explore more what can be done and what might fail. So, the next step was to start prototyping and get in touch with a basket weaver back home and in here to gather more information.

By starting to think what type of forms I would like to have, I looked through an interesting project called Revolution in the Making: abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016.

This project was established in order to engagement with found, experimental, and recycled material. It represents the work of women who express their own voices, dramatically, and by that they expanded the definition of sculpture.

All that information led to appreciate the project more, it adds value to it. The problem always is that consumers may not appreciate the time and effort that takes to made a single piece. According to Cherry, they admire the price, she always has to explain the reason, how difficult is that technique, how much time it takes and of course considering the material used.

 

While thinking of the possibilities on how to achieve a larger scale product by weaving, is the fish trapes,

I found an interesting example, called Aboriginal People’s Art, presented in the Contemporary Art Museum, Sydney, Australia, made by artists from Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia

 

These beautiful sculptural forms are Aboriginal fish traps, woven from vines and pandanus palm leaves in a twining technique which is also used for baskets and mats. Although they were made as sculptural objects, they would function effectively as traps. So, they added an aesthetical factor to a well-known purely functional product. Personally, I believe that keeping the traditional weaving techniques and materials added a greater moral value to it.

Another example personally I believe it was a successful achievement in adapting a twist to a traditional product is the Blow Away Vase by Front, by exposing a traditional, simple, regular shape, Royal Delft vase to a simulated gust of wind, to end up with more modern, complicated, unique, irregular shape Blow Away Vase.

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All the way from Asia to Europe:

Shipping the material from the eastern Reagan (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) to Greater Manchester (The United Kingdom)

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Why did I take this step instead of going back and work with the basket weavers back there?

Embracing new challenges and experimentation has the power to exploit the full potentials of this existing material. In order to contribute producing a product that is more outside the box, I decided to import the material all the way from the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia to Manchester in the United Kingdom. This is because the crafted women in Saudi Arabia are nearly between 60-80 years old, and no one wanted to collaborate in producing an innovative outcome, thinking that it is going to be difficult, before even trying. Another reason is that I would like to work with the material within a different vision, handing it to a person who have not tried it before, in my opinion, will lead to extreme the boundaries of what is in there in the market, to end up with revealing prospects, a new technique, a new product.

Dates Palm Leaves

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Figure 1: Dates palms are planted in each house within the Middle East.

Weaving with dates palm leaves is an important popular hand profession, dates back to Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula and other places where palm cultivation flourished. It was famous in the manufacture off hand women. According to the Saudi National Creative Initiative, a large number of people who rely on this industry because the material is affordable, it can be harvest all the year. Simply, they expose it to the sun to dry, and before using it, it is necessary to soak it into the water to soften it, whether it is plain or colored using dyes, because the dye does not disappear with water. Afterward, it is easy to form. When I start prototyping and after forming the shape I wanted, I used the microwave for one minute to dry it faster. As a result, the shape shrinks about 2 mm only but that should be taken in consideration. Other thing is that while drying and because that process is applied twice to the material, it makes it stronger. One condition I faced is that if it stays moisturized for more than two days, mold starts to appear. A natural solution is to use teatree oil, vinegar or any kind of vinegars will do the trick. I experiment using apple vinegar and white vinegar, and both have worked perfectly.

 

Using Palm leaves is:

Organic, non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic material that have no negative effects on the natural environment. It can be used over and over again instead of being “downcycled” into lesser products, ultimately becoming waste. Grown- harvest – used and goes back to ground (cradle to cradle (C2C model (defined by McDonough and Braungart)

·        Plant-based

·        Sustainable through longevity

·        Easy to get

 

 

Project Briefing:

The Learning Agreement     

My ambition runs around the celebration of craftsmen work, in reinterpretation the traditional crafts in Saudi Arabia, and apply it into contemporary everyday use objects. I aim to reinvent the used materials and processes, to prescribe a dedication to quality within a productive creative engagement and collaboration. I also would like the consumers to appreciate the effort, attempting to illuminate their vision of crafted objects by proposing different ways and techniques and let them engage with the details. A pendant light (retail product) that develops Saudi productive families instead of being dependent on society and holds Arabs identity through the combination of the traditional weaving techniques and the ambition of uniqueness and variety.
I chose to design a pendant light because I would like to enhance the material and the weaving process. Adding a bulb will form a lighted back ground that goes through the opening while weaving. I believe that it will add a value and enhance the outcome, as you will see further when I compare the possible outcome before and after.

 

 

Historical Background

 

 

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Basketry is one of the most enduring crafts in the world, its origins reaching back into antiquity (Kieffer, P.6, 2006). The profession of the wicker industry is characterized primarily as a women’s profession, where women are able to complete their work in their homes. Many women of different age groups are still proficient in various handicrafts of palm fronds and categorized as skilled craftsmen, which necessarily require precision in craftsmanship, as well as aesthetic taste. Those craftsmen are designers, they design the product according to the need, for example when They needed a broom to wipe the floor with, they used the palm leaves planted in the courtyards, and gathered all together and this concept was illustrated by Charlotte and Peter Fiell, in their book ‘’the story of Design’’.

Today, the endless array of materials available, coupled with innovative techniques, have inspired new approaches to basket making resulting in a diversity, that is been reflected in the beautiful crafted inspirations of the basket maker’s art, where some of them are highly functional, and the other are purely sculptural. Some well-known artists, playing a major role in that field, such as Leon Niehues. Using traditional materials and techniques and adding innovative ideas, methods of construction, and new and unique materials, ending with work that is more complex and more interesting objects. According to him “One reason I think my work is attractive to the viewer is because it is old and new at the same time”.

 

The Value of Craftsmanship Products:

Why is it important to adapt history and tradition to modern needs?

Before language was written or money minted, humans exchanged gifts. Gift-giving was one of the oldest and most basic of human behaviours. Crafted objects are frequently selected as gifts. Why do people tempt to select crafted objects especially when the travel and would like to bring back a souvenir? Crafts are normally found in our gift shops, museum shops or traditional festivals and craft fairs. It is because people buy and give craft motivated by some revealing reasons. First of all, from a scaled perspective: you are buying the spirit of the traditional craft that is specialized on that country.

‘’Every manmade object embodies the worldview from which it originates ‘’ Peter Korn, 2013

 

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Figure 2: The first process is to cut out the leaves.

On the other hand, and from a client or customer perspective, I am not only buying the product itself, but also purchasing the effort of the farmer who planted the palm trees, the effort of the person who collects the leaves, clean, dry them and make them ready to be worked with, the effort of the women who works with the leaves to produce a uniqueness and inaccuracy product, and the effort of the seller and helping them all to turn a profit and a great outcome.

Examining craft as giftware allows to examine the variety of values and meanings assigned to the handcrafted object by contemporary society ( by makers, retailers, buyers and recipients alike.)

‘’ We don’t consume individual objects, we consume the social order that they belong to ‘’ Nathan Greenslit, 2013