Pushing the Boundaries

(Reflection on unconscious values embedded in handmade crafts)

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Figure 1: Marks & Spencer, 2017 | Courtesy of Marks & Spencer


As the demand of loving to change the interior atmosphere is increasing within housewives and consumers in general, trends are playing a profound role in shaping the consumer desires. From a global perspective, and as people are becoming more eco-conscious, opting for a greener, sustainable and more organic lifestyle, this in turn has led me as a designer to come up with more ethical ways to think of producing and using more natural materials and artisan craftsmanship. The handcrafted objects, ethical and sustainable products presented in the Bohemian style, the Intrepid Explorer trend or theme, which is the ongoing theme among 2017’s Spring/Summer interior decor ranges (luxford,2017) brings a feeling of exoticism and escapism to our chaotic urban lifestyles. This trend includes using rattan, salvaged wood and recycled plastics, glass and fabrics.

Personally, I believe as time passes it will become more and more prevalent, especially that inserting unusual, cultural pieces would enhance the interior space and serve as a focal point. The demand increases on the pieces that are traditionally crafted, inlaid and embedded with a contemporary twist, as Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg asserts: There is value in continually re-examining what already exists, delving into the archives, poring over the classics (2015). With a sense of nostalgia, this interior scheme encourages displaying our treasured collections from our travels. Moreover, it is a relaxed, eclectic look, can be added to and edited over time, and can be adapted without a strict, coherent theme. According to Dyes, the emphasis on individualism is resulting in the rise of trends that are anything but traditional.

Referring back to Jongerius and Schouwenberg, in their publication “Beyond the New” (2015):” It is absurd and arrogant to begin the design process with an empty piece of paper. Cultural and historical awareness are woven into the DNA of any worthwhile product. Otherwise the designer is merely embracing newness for its own sake – an empty shell, which requires overblown rhetoric to fill it with meaning.”


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Figure 2: Traditional Craft Using Palm Leaves

Locally, taking an advantage from the skills they already got inherited across generations, especially when I got in touch with two different basket wavers in Saudi Arabia, they both agreed that previously it was a great source of income but then when alternative products came in, the demand for their products is reduced and used for decoration purposes only. So, the purpose of buying changed, the sales are reducing, why they are still keeping producing? The answer was it provides them with satisfaction, being able to do what they know, like and due to the social impact where they meet and work all together, it is not an occupation any more, it became more of a way to contribute and gives them a feeling of being alive.

Although those careers are close to extinction as the world may regard their vocation as dreary jobs, the younger generation refuse to adapt the same craft as a source of income. Therefore, and in order to keep it alive, I aim to change their perception, appreciate the skill they have and provide them with an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and embrace a different way of thinking. Bearing in mind the social responsibility, which assesses fair labor practices.



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