Melanie Eddy at work in Afghanistan
3 June 2011
by Vicki Sarge
Set in city of Kabul, Afghanistan the Turquoise Mountain Project has the three-fold objective of regenerating historic urban areas, renewing traditional Afghan arts and spurring the sustainable development of the nation’s craft industry. The programme was established in 2006 by Rory Stewart with the support of HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and the HE President Karzai, President of Afghanistan. Since its launch Turquoise Mountain has cleared 25,000 m3 of rubbish from the streets, laid water, electricity and sanitation infrastructure, built a primary school and health centre, sold $1.3 million in Afghan crafts internationally and created the Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture. The Institute endeavours to assure a future for the local Afghan students by teaching traditional handicrafts including jewellery and gem cutting over an intensive 3-year course.
In May 2009 I became involved with the school, travelling to Afghanistan to teach and work directly with the students. My aims were to introduce them to the design process, western fashion trends and the rich resources available via the worldwide web. I found my visit an enriching and rewarding experience and left knowing I would stay involved in these student’s future endeavours.
Since then I have maintained a strong personal interest in the programme’s development and upheld a close relationship with Melanie Eddy -who undertook a creative residency at the institute with the British Council’s support. This June Erickson Beamon is providing support and promotion by providing the graduated students a unique platform for their work. I am excited to announce that we will be showcasing a selection of the designer’s collections in the Belgravia boutique. Each student’s work will be available for purchase- with 100% profit going to the individual graduate and their future business.