Based in Sharjah, UAE, Irthi Crafts Council works to represent, foster and promote artisanal crafts across the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia. A socially and culturally pioneering initiative, Irthi was developed from the NAMA Women's Advancement Establishment, which empowers women through the preservation of traditional and modern crafts.
This September Irthi will launch their first line of products at the Fair, the Museum Line, the collection a result of two projects carried out by the Council: Design Labs and Crafts Dialogue. The work includes handblown glass from Palestine, woven Japanese grass tapestries and stools sand-cast in Sharhaj.
FIND IRTHI IN HALL 2 THIS SEPTEMBER
Talli is the traditional weaving of real gold and silver threads by women in the UAE which can be used to assemble Misbah beads.
For this Design Lab, Irthi collaborated with Pakistan-based LEL Design Studio whos workforce comprises of displaced Afghani artisans. Working with the Design Lab trainees the team produced Mesbah's from woven synthetic gold and silver threads and gold and silver beads.
Collaborating with UK-based, V&A acquired and Loewe shortlisted artist, Kazuhito Takadoi, to produce three wall tapestries. The tapestries reflect the landscapes of Sharjah through the craft of Dafeefah weaving and stitching, using gold foiled palm fronds and Japanese grass on Japanese washi paper.
Artisans from Irthi’s Bidwa social development programme have combined their knowledge of Emirati Safeefah weaving techniques with Kazuhito's refined Japanese embroidery techniques to produced delicate woven elements that link Emirati and Japanese landscapes together through art.
Glass-blowing is one of the oldest and technically advanced craft skills in Palestine, with glassware traditionally produced from sand and sodium carbonate from the Dead Sea.
For this Design Lab, Palestinian architect and designer Dima Srouji collaborated with glass-blowers from the region employing traditional techniques to the production of contemporary forms.
The trainees involved produced perfume and oud bottles alongside small glass beads - the forms inspired by the natural Palestinian and Emirati landscapes and textures; cactus, coral stones and jellyfish.
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