AAKS X UNHCR
WEAVING FOR CHANGE
AAKS in Ghana and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees joined forces for a home décor project titled ‘Weaving for Change’. The collaboration to produce a range of beautifully handcrafted lamps and light fittings reflects the preservation of a time honoured Malian weaving technique of the Tuareg community from Northern Mali, who are living as refugees in Burkina Faso. Behind every handcrafted lamp you will find a cultural identity of the Tuareg.
The design combines craftsmanship of unique artisanal skills and techniques in basketry; an important activity carried out by Tuareg and Fulani/Peulh women who weave with straw and yarn to make traditional basket lids for food platters used during celebrations in their communities.
The artisans use a needle and thread to wrap hand-dyed strands of organic yarns and leather around bunches of straw to create tightly coiled, durable lampshades in an impressive range of patterns and colours. The result is a beautiful range of lamps in kaleidoscopic yellows, tone down reds, reds, blues and rustic oranges combined with natural straw and hints of vegetable tan leather, bronze and copper metal finishing. The collaboration of textures and tones is crucial to the cohesion of the overall design ideas.
Depending on the size and shape, each lamp can take one weaver anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month to make! The collection seeks to offer open and semi closed shades with direct light source. When lit, the handcrafted crocheted surface gives the entire shade an effervescent glow which captures the perfect equilibrium between light and shade.
A A K S was founded by entrepreneur and designer, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, A A K S creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts characterised by bright exuberant colours. The very essence of the A A K S design philosophy is a complex combination of thoughts, design element which come from a critical attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values in their production ; while having a strong sense of identity and quality. Each collection silhouette is unique and tells a different story through detail, colour and shape. Akosua is connected to every stage of the design and production process to oversee and ensure that the end result is imbued with the spirit and soul worthy of the A A K S stamp. www.aaksonline.com
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. www.unhcr.org
The AAKS X UNHCR #WEAVINGFORCHANGE Collection:
A behind the scenes look at the process of handcrafting the #WEAVINGFORCHANGE lamp collection:
Words by AAKS photos by UNHCR