Storage: Trunks, Chests, Boxes and Blogs
Storage trunks will always remind me of school. Although I was not a boarder the beginning and end of term would always bring the flurry of activity associated with arrivals and departures, and signalling a beginning or an end. Large storage trunks and chests, whether shiny and new, or battered and bruised, and filled with the owners belongings would be stacked to one side awaiting to be taken away and unpacked of their practical items and treasured memories. Storage trunks also call to mind a bygone era when travel to distant places meant embarking on a long, and often tedious journey and having to ensure that you had everything you would need with you, requiring something sturdy to keep them safe in. I came across some trunks and boxes that take inspiration from Africa, and through their designs tell the stories of journeys that began long ago, but are still continuing as they embrace and are reshaped by ever changing times. Created by textile graduate Siobhan Harrison, Blanche Dlys Designs
breathes new life into vintage and discarded pieces of furniture, restoring them with colour, pattern and texture in the form of selected fabrics and surface treatments. Hand finished, no two items will be alike and each item bears the marks of its previous life which adds a sense of the preciousness of treasured items passed on for safe keeping, making them modern heirlooms. Siobhan has used a range of fabrics including vibrant wax cloth fabrics to line the interior of one trunk and on another to cover the exterior.
The words modern heirlooms, also describe Tattoo Dreams'
wooden boxes, tables, mirrors and other accessories that feature rubber stamped designs, giving the sense of times gone by, and conveying the thoughts, imagery and inspirations of their creator, designer Patricia Hecker. The box shown here is adorned with Adinkra Symbols and was a commissioned design. The box's small size and sliding lid makes it ideal for keeping items like jewellery, keys or little bits of stationary safe; however I can easily picture the same style and design on much larger scale as a coffee table or storage box for household furnishings like blankets and linens, in fact when I first saw the image that's what I thought it was!
African Daydreams is Two
Marking another year of researching, writing and blogging African Daydreams turns two on Sunday; and as the storage for my inspirations it continues to take me on an amazing journey of discovery; one that has begun to overflow the confines of its space. African Daydreams has given me the opportunity to I meet whether virtually or in person many interesting and inspirational people, organisations and businesses.
Thank you to those who have shared their finds and their own designs, and thank you to all who have stopped by to say hi, for your words of encouragement and for sharing in the same enthusiasm I have when I come across something that inspires and delights.
The humble stainless steel teaspoon is given a twist with the addition of colourful glass seed beads tightly wrapped around the handle with non-toxic silver wire. The teaspoons are part of a range of beaded cutlery from UK -based retailer, Urban Africa
, and come as a set of four, available in five colour combinations. Other items to choose from include stainless steel cake forks; silver plated cake slice lifters and napkin rings; and tiny glass salt and pepper shakers; all of which are complemented with a range of styles that include full beading, double strand or straight line wire wrapping. Hand washing is recommended to prolong the longevity of the designs.
[Image credits: Beaded Teaspoons and Cake Forks - Urban Africa]
Urban Africa was founded in 2007 by two South African expats, Sharon and Ryan, living in the UK, who, wanting to surround themselves with the things that reminded them of 'home' but having to face the realities of baggage allowance that meant each time they went home for the holidays only to return with excess baggage in the form of gifts or the unique crafts they would have come across. It was this frustration and the desire to share their heritage and finds with friends and other expats living the UK that led the duo to set-up Urban Africa. Many of the products retailed in the Urban Africa website are sourced from small producers in South African be they individuals or cooperatives working with artists and crafters to help foster sustainable trade. The company also donates part of its profits to identified communities and charities in South Africa.
The cutlery shown here was made by Africa Smiles, a business that works to help preserve traditional Zulu beading by seeking ways to keep it dynamic and contemporary.
Make for beautiful, thoughtful gifts if you can be tempted to part with them.
Cutlery available on Urban Africa priced from: £8.68 -£20.42
For further information about Urban Africa and to purchase visit: www.urban-africa.co.uk
The majestic Serengeti Plains have inspired a contemporary classic range of furniture by US-based designer Adriana Hoyos
. Using rich hardwood grains available in a selection of finishes, the aptly titled Africa Collection
features the distinctive markings of the giraffe moulded in a striking cutout pattern that is used in chair backrests, headboards, sideboards and table bases. The patterns are accentuated with upholstery materials like leather in neutral or contrasting shades.
[Image credits: top, Africa Chairs and Africa Cocktail Table; centre Africa Patterned Buffet; bottom, Africa Patterned Bed - Adriana Hoyos]
Other designs take inspiration from weaving traditions, using strips that contrast the woods used. Adriana's designs are simple, chic and elegant, and also include dining room tables and chairs, end tables, ottomans and sofas.
[Image credit: Africa Woven Chairs and Africa Patterned Cocktail Table - Adriana Hoyos]
With over twenty-five years in the interiors industry, designer Adriana Hoyos is inspired by global textures and arts and infuses this into her work, along with inspiration drawn from her native Latin American roots, the basis for her furniture collections. Through her eponymous interior design and furniture brands Adriana's portfolio encompasses residential, commercial and hospitality sector projects undertaken in countries including the US, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico and the Bahamas.
Doing some research for a client I keeping spotting beautifully textured cushions made with Moroccan Kilim fabrics. Kilim fabrics are traditionally hand-woven to create carpets and rugs and have now been used to produce smaller items such as cushions and bags.
Plümo [Image credit: Kelim Cushions - Plümo]
Whether a single continuous design is used or a patchwork of contrasting fabrics; the warm rich colours and plush tactile textures bring and added warmth and cosiness to interiors. Complementary tasselling, like those seen on Plümo
, and/or beading add a sumptuous luxurious finish. Some of the fabrics used are vintage finds, like those seen on Beldi
, giving you a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece, whilst Imports from Marrakesh
have a selection of cushions hand-woven by the Berber women of Zemmour and Azrou.
[Image credits: clockwise from bottom left, Imports from Marrakesh on L-Atitude; bottom right, Beldi
Digital by Design Sessions
It has proved to be an exceptionally busy week, and I have been spending quite a bit of time either moderating, or thinking about issues surround creativity for Visible by Design's
Digital by Design sessions running simultaneously at the V&A's Sackler Centre, the hub for the London Design Festival, and online. We have had attendees logging on from Kenya and Hungary and the sessions are open to anyone whether you are a creative or not, Wednesday session was joined by a medical student who brought her insight into how she uses creativity to the discussion. I have created a summary of the discussions on Beyond Daydreams which you can access here: http://www.africandaydreams.com/mentor-engage-inspire.html
The Digital by Design sessions over the last couple of days have revealed some interesting insights into discovering the similarities and differences in our creative practises. Tomorrow is the final session looking at experimentation and where to go for further research, so if you have some time why not join us from 11am GMT for an hour and a half. To participate follow the link - http://todaysmeet.com/DIGITALbyDESIGN-Experimentation
Add your name to login, hit join and start discussing.The previous discussions can be viewed here:
Wednesday - http://todaysmeet.com/DIGITALbyDESIGN-Creativity
Thursday - http://todaysmeet.com/DIGITALbyDESIGN-Development
Just follow the same process as above to login or click on the transcript link, bottom right to view what has already been discussed. All the discussions are live for a year so keep popping back to add your thoughts.
For further information about the Digital by Design sessions visit: https://www.facebook.com/VISIBLEbyDESIGN
We may be entering Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, but you can still hold onto the summer feeling with Savannah Chic's
range of contemporary jewellery, including some vibrant bracelets from the company's 'Summer Love' collection, which sees colourful Kikoy's woven into necklaces and bracelets that conjure up the carefree spirit of Summer.
Predominately handmade in partnership with carefully selected artisans and workshops in Kenya, Savannah Chic's jewellery collections are contemporary and colourful; ranging from bold brights and fresh delicate pastels to the warm earth tones of nature incorporated in elegantly shaped horn pieces that are inlaid with thin brass strips, updating a classic style; coloured recycled glass that is interspersed with handmade brass charms for feminine charm; whilst playful ceramic beads add a pop of colour to brass bangles and rings. Bringing together the past and the present, rare beads such as Don Don Sole are used, as well as the ancient art of lost wax casting to make brass pendants; and wooden medallions featuring intricate patterns pay homage to cultures gone by.
[Image credit: top, Long Oblong Bracelet; bottom, Small Bouquet Rings - Savannah Chic]
Based in Kenya and Switzerland, Savannah Chic was founded in 2009 by Charu and Shruti Patel, a mother and daughter team, who joined forces to create a company that would help bring about positive and sustainable change in their native Kenya. Shruti had spent eight years working in international development, and although she found working to make a difference fulfilling, she acknowledges that she rarely saw the difference that was being made on the ground. Savannah Chic was founded on the principles of fair trade, adhering to the ten standards for fair trade organistions that were set out by the World Fair Trade Organistion
(WFTO), these include transparency and accountability; payment of a a fair price; safe and healthy working conditions; creating opportunities; and better environmental practices. As part of their efforts, Savannah Chic also provides mentoring schemes for the artists and groups they work with.
For further information about Savannah Chic, to purchase and to find a stockist visit: www.savannah-chic.com
Closely aligned with Vision for Africa International
, and Austrian based Christian organisation; Ugandan Ceramics
is a pottery school based near Kampala, Uganda. Offering training in the various methods of ceramics production, the students who attend the school are given the opportunity to study with artists from Uganda and Europe, amongst them are former students who have gone on to become instructors themselves.
Uganda Ceramics Pottery School also has a dedicated gallery showcasing the artists’ work, which is located at the Vision for Africa premises in Mukono Kiyunga. The products produced encompass decorative sculptures; functional pieces such as pots, platters and vases. The students have taken part in local, regional and international events and exhibition introducing their creations to wider audiences; and the School's workshop is open to visitors to meet the artists and get an insight into how the pottery is made. The big ceramic plates make for collectable items that you can continually add to create a dynamic wall feature.
For further information about Ugandan Ceramics and order enquiries visit: www.ugandaceramics.com
Just spotted these indigo dyed napkins currently retailing on the India Hick’s
website. Whilst I cannot say if they were actually inspired by African indigo’s, I am instantly reminded of the centuries old dyeing tradition that can be attributed to countries like Mali and Nigeria. Made with linen, the napkins come as a set of four each; with its own individual pattern.
The napkins currently on the website retail at: USD$85
For further information about India Hicks and to purchase visit: www.indiahicks.com
Visible by Design
The sports have finished and now London turns its attention to celebrating design when the annual London Design Festival
kicks of with a series of events running from 14th September-23 September 2012. This year the event is marking ten years of celebrating design, and fittingly the central hub will be based at the dynamic V&A Museum
, home to the award-winning Sackler Centre
, whose space will see inspirational women designers coming together to discuss the creative process through a combined series of: design workshops in the Design Lab in partnership with Global Color Research
, interactive sessions in Digital by Design and inspirational talks in the Design Salon in an inaugural programme put together by Visible by Design
- a creative partner for the London Design Festival 2012. Visible by Design's inspirational programme will place a particular focus on women designers around the globe along the theme of 'the Creative Process'; and seeks to 'explore innovation and design dialogues across the creative sectors of interior design, textiles, and the visual arts'.
Visible by Design
is a new creative partnership between Ameena McConnell of Creative Fruits
; Laurence Kanza of La Petite Congolaise
, whom I have featured before on African Daydreams
; and Munirah Olton of Salongo Arts
Open to all, whether you are a creative professional, or just curious, you all invited to participate. I will be joining forces with Lulu Kitololo of Asilia
and the blog, Afri-love
to facilitate the 90 minute-long Digital by Design interactive sessions, which run on Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th, and Friday 21st; and look forward to sharing in the discussions. The Visible by Design sessions and talks are free to attend, but places are limited so you will need to register through the V&A website. If you can not make the sessions in person do not despair as the sessions will also be available online in real time so can still join in the conversation from wherever you are. For the full programme and further information about speakers click here
This is a great opportunity to contribute to the discussion and to connect with fellow designers and creatives across the world and look forward to seeing you there.
Covering expanses of wall space, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui's
stunning and ingenious fabric-like installations are like precious shimmering blankets imbued with pattern, colour and texture.
El Anatsui work is inspired by diverse indigenous African cultures, telling the continent's rich history through the materials used and objects depicted. Known as the 'Man's Cloth series', the fluid metal wall sculptures reflect Ghana's rich fabric weaving traditions, and are made from thousands of discarded alcohol bottle tops and foil bottle neck wrappers; which are individually hand shaped into squares rectangles and triangles and then connected together with copper wire. The materials used serve to create a visual narrative of the trade between Africa and Europe, where commodities like alcohol were traded for slaves and locally woven fabrics. Through his work El Anatsui also highlights issues such as the negative impact wide spread consumerism has in eroding cultural values.
Recognised as one of the 'foremost contemporary artists of his generation' (The October Gallery) El Anatsui's has exhibited his work to critical acclaim and undertaken residencies all over the world in a career that spans over forty years. Before turning his attention to using recycled materials, El Anatsui's early work made use of metal, wood, clay, paint. El Anatsui is based in Nigeria where he relocated to take up a teaching post at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. El Anatsui taught at the university for thirty-seven years, becoming the Professor of Sculpture and Departmental Head; a post he retired from in 2011.
I can only imagine how the designs in the sculptures would look translated back into the fabrics they are inspired by, and used across interiors and fashion.