7 September 2014
by Marion Lean
In this our first Anou residency, UK-based designer Sabrina Kraus López lived with Anou artisans in the Atlas Mountains, collaborating on new designs and approaches based on the Amazigh’s traditional weaving techniques. Over a one-month period Sabrina worked with six artisans to create the Common Thread collection, a series of bespoke hand woven rugs inspired by the Berber’s heritage, surroundings and personal stories.
Through exchanging stories and knowledge, six-limited edition contemporary rugs have been created that each celebrate and draw inspiration from the artisan’s own culture and personal background. These rugs also form the basis of an exhibition specially curated by Faculty (Moira Lascelles and Kieren Jones) at Designjunction during the London Design Festival 2014. The exhibition will tell the story of the residency and the rugs and will include a film by Simon Mills and a publication designed by Laura Gordon.
All of the six artisans involved in the collaboration are part of Anou, an online platform that cuts out the middleman and allows Berber crafts people the opportunity to connect directly with potential customers internationally. This ensures that Berbers have the chance to keep their traditions and culture alive by making a sufficient living from their skills.
In a reciprocal exchange, four Anou artisans will travel to London for the first time and visit the London Design Festival to meet with leading UK designers, craftspeople and institutes to share their practice. As part of their programme, Anou artisan leaders Rabha Akkaoui, Mustapha Chaouai, Brahim El Mansouri and Kenza Oulaghda, will join a panel discussion with Sabrina at designjunction to talk about their collaboration and experience. The group will also make an appearance at Makerversity, where they will explain the stories behind their individual rugs.
The British Council has established the Anou residencies as a way to create a meaningful meeting of peers from the UK and Morocco to exchange skills, knowledge and ideas and to explore the relationship between craft and contemporary design in these two countries. It is an opportunity for practitioners from different backgrounds to experience first-hand each other’s industries and approaches in a way they might not otherwise have been able to.
We hope that this programme will continue to establish a long-term dialogue and promote the continued exchange of ideas and collaboration between the UK and Morocco.
The Sorting Office
21-23 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1BA
Anou Residencies: Common Thread exhibition
17 September: press view 4-7pm; VIP opening 7-9.30pm
18-21 September: open to public 11am–9pm; 11am–8pm; 11am–8pm; 11am–5pm
Tickets, times and directions: http://thedesignjunction.co.uk/
Talk with the artisans and networking event
Friday 19 September, 6PM, Makerversity
Panel discussion on cultural design at designjunction
Sunday 21 September, 12noon
For more information on the events or to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org