“WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ASIA?”
“WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LAOS?”
“TO WATCH THE SUN RISE OVER TEMPLES…”
This conversation took place one rainy September evening. It was only several years later that I made my way to Laos for the first time. The time in between was used to form many fictitious images of the place in my head, including how watching the sunrise would actually feel like. Laos, back then, was a country I could barely locate in Asia and it seemed very unreal… Like a dream.
The genesis of the project CRAFTED (“because local culture is the global future”) was strongly inspired by my first visit to Laos in 2012. Like many others, I was struck by the natural beauty of the place, the gentleness of its people, but also became infatuated with the effortless sense of local style. The level of sophistication in textile making, basketry, the tasteful combination of colours and textures, were far beyond my expectations. I quickly came to learn that Laos is a rare gem for crafts in Southeast Asia and, in fact, is known to have a level of craftsmanship that is unique in the world. This encouraged me to introduce the work of brilliant “non design” makers within the context of contemporary design and human development. And so CRAFTED was born.
Besides the sheer beauty of the place and the products, Laos also revealed itself to me as vulnerable in this age of globalization. Its local cultural assets are endangered, and some have already disappeared because of a changing society. Of course, all societies have to change, as ways of life are shaped to be improved, but how can people keep their local cultural practices alive and retain their amazing cultural wealth for the future? I believe that Laos’ biggest asset is its culture but the country may be lacking access to creative thinking, an element that could strongly benefit local communities.
In a country where basic education still remains a challenge, creative education can only seem like a luxury. And yet, the biggest misunderstanding about creativity is that it is optional or secondary. This project is a modest attempt to introduce creativity as an equal right to all individuals. Because we are all born creative and with plenty of imagination. I want the next generation of Lao people to be able to live in a world of their own making.
Read full article in The Makers Journal by HAYSTAKT