Launching CRAFTED (making + living)

CRAFTED a modest publication inspired by my love for objects, cultures, places, journeys, and encounters. It is not a website, only a Facebook page through which will be issued occasional volumes. Take a look and see what VOLUME ONE will have in store for you. Click the “Like” button on the page to subscribe, and share with friends! Thanking you all in advance for your much needed support ~ LINK:

[VisualDiary] Topkapi in Istanbul

[INDIGO] Drawing a new path to development

Adelia Borges’ new book Craft + Design – The Brazilian Path is a timely publication to read ahead of the ICOGRADA Design Week 2012 Sarawak where issues about the preservation of local culture and knowledge systems will be discussed.

The book showcases a large range of handmade products that resulted from collaborations between artisans and designers and which encapsulate the notion of Brazilian identity in all its diversity and complexity. It also questions the methodologies that need to put in place in order to ensure sustainable practices and a better understanding of the indigenous way of life.

Borges argues that while a number of interventions are carried out by designers to collaborate with craft communities, many of them do not have a lasting impact over the long term. This lack of continuity can be damaging for the development of small communities that base their lives around farming and have close ties with nature. Designers need to develop stronger knowledge and respect toward the livelihoods of those communities, and also learn to work at a different pace.

Development is most often perceived as the successful implementation of modern solutions and technologies, yet we also need to consider a new type of connection between the so-called North and so-called South. Progress can stem from older principles related to well-being, sustainability, and traditional knowledge systems that have been innovative for centuries. “One way to enrich the connection is to focus on ways designers and makers in the north can learn from sustainable techniques that Brazilian artisans have used even before the word ecology was spread.”

It may be time to draw a new path.

[Preview] By People / In Cities

Coming soon is the first volume of my new project By People / In Cities for the Asia Europe Foundation’s platform Kicking off with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – watch this space for a line-up of interviews and articles.

By People / In Cities is a series of articles and interviews that aims to enhance the understanding of art and culture in Southeast Asia through individual stories and perspectives including artists, cultural practitioners, and policy makers from the following 5 cities: Bangkok, Jogjakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, and Singapore.

Image credits: Sali Sasaki, Idzwan Junaidi & pixo2

[Feature] CUT OUT Magazine | Malaysia

A little feature in the Malaysian graphic design magazine CUT OUT (Volume 3 Issue 1) as part of an article on Kuching Creative City. The 2012 ICOGRADA International Design Week entitled “Rediscovery” which I am co-programming is going to take place there in October 2012. More details on the line-up of speakers and themes soon… and another article dedicated to sustaining crafts in Southeast Asia, to be published in a later issue of CUT OUT, is also underway. Stay tuned.


Went to the art supply store Sennelier today to find these amazing traditional Japanese watercolours. I wish I could have bought them all… The plan is to leave my Bamboo tablet aside and paint on my recent stock of Lao handmade paper…

[CRAFTED] Syrian Soaps

Sketch the Louvre

This experimental project seeks to re-interpret the world’s largest museum in an experimental manner. Every Wednesday evening I grab my SLR camera as well as my sketchbook and wander around the galleries and hallways of the Louvre. I take pictures, sometimes draw, take notes. I walk to experience the place, to find new meaning for myself and create images to share with others. See the album in progress on Flickr

Mother Tongue in Forli, Italy

INDIGO partnered with Romagna Creative District and L’ARTE di INNOVARE for the first exhibit of Mother Tongue.

A selection of submissions from INDIGO’s very own Mother Tongue were displayed for the very first time since the close of the Call for Submissions.

The exhibition was held at the Palazzo Albertini, in Forlì, Italy on 9-10 September 2011 and was open to the general public.

Thread Counts: textile products from Laos

Eastern Weft is a textile workshop based in Vientiane, Laos, founded by Samorn Sanixay and Kaisy Sophabmixay. The textiles are entirely handmade and fuse traditional Lao techniques with contemporary designs. Natural and locally sourced dyes such as indigo, ebony, and marigolds, are used.

The workshop employs weavers from ethnic minorities and helps them achieve sustainable livelihoods through fair wages, education, and creativity. Each of them have distinctive skills and techniques that are reflected in the uniqueness of the products.

Laos has an abundance of traditional textile techniques that are practiced through more than 60 different ethnic groups. Among the more typical ones are ikat, embroidery, applique, batik, and backstrap loom. As handmade textiles, these products combine their slight imperfections with charm and authenticity.

Aside from scarves and fabrics, Eastern Weft boasts a line of children’s clothing called Minorities Kids. The garments are produced from fabric remnants and vintage textiles that include silk, hemp, wool, jute, and cotton.

Kaisy Sophabmixay was born in Hua Phan Province in Northeastern Laos, a region well-known for its weaving, fabrics, and tapestries.

Samorn Sanixay was born in Laos and grew up in Australia. She returned to Laos in 2002 to work as a volunteer English teacher and as a writer for UNICEF. She met Kaisy who had a stall selling antique clothes and fabrics. She later learned traditional weaving under her mentorship.  As their friendship developed, they decided to start a weaving cooperative, purchased old looms from a rundown weaving factory, and with little money, together built a boarding house for young weavers.

Images: Eastern Weft

Soap Opera de Gordes

[Report] Art Culture Creativity

[Taipei] INDIGO Mother Tongue Exhibition at Originality 100

My work was showcased at the INDIGO Mother Tongue Exhibition at Originality 100, an international conference on visual communication design at the National Taiwan University of Arts during the IDA World Design Congress 2011. The exhibition was curated by David Lancashire, and co-organized by ICOGRADA, the Taiwan Graphic Design Association, and Art Charity Taiwan.

About the work:

This dictionary has been present in the family household since my parents moved from Tokyo to Paris in 1979. None of us could speak a word of French back then.

This object quickly became indispensable in everyday life and served as connector between our home where Japanese was spoken, and the outside world where French was omnipresent.

Today, as I look at this dictionary, I am reminded that somewhere along the way, some of my Japanese got lost. But the words that I have forgotten are all in this book to be found again.

[VisualDiary] Chiang Mai

[Shopping] Chiang Mai