The Language of Weaving tapestries

Last May Fair Fabrics presented its latest project ‘The Language of Weaving’ during OBJECT Rotterdam.

Language of Weaving tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022

Forms of language

With the project ‘ The language of weaving’ we want to investigate whether we can find a suitable way to connect even better between end-user and artisan. By providing more insight into these forms of language, we remove boundaries, and can better read and understand cultural identity. The Language Of Weaving is not scientific research, but a way to connect the worlds on an equal level and to exchange insights.

Language of Weaving tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022 Photo Credits Frank Hanswijk

Detail. Photo credits: Frank Hanswijk

Artisan specialists

Berber weavers are artisans with many years of experience, but they are also often illiterate. They process important events and experiences through symbols and colours in the rug they weave.

The artisan weaver from the workshop in Tunisia is working on the presentation.

Symbolism

The form of language designs are intensely personal and must be interpreted with care. They often work with the symbols of love, nature, birth and happiness. But also stories in the form of personal convictions and life in the countryside are incorporated into the rugs. The form of language includes, for example, magic numbers and squares, verses from the Quran, Arabic script, geometric shapes, as well as references to the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

Language of Weaving tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022 Photo Credits Pierre Banoori

Photo credits: Pierre Banoori

Tradition

The history of Berber motifs goes back hundreds of years. It is unknown whether the earliest designs were used on the body in the form of tattoos, or on material objects such as rugs, leather objects or carvings. However, the long tradition of this form of language is still an integral part of the culture of North African countries, and not just in the Berber-majority regions.

Language of Weaving tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022 Photo Credits Maikel Jay

Daughter and father stamp a new design for a tapestry together. Photo credits: Maikel Jay

Online shop

For the first phase of the project, we have developed 4 rugs together with the artisan weavers, in which the different shapes, possible techniques and various designs have been applied. All copies from this 1st phase of the project are for sale in our online shop, they are all suitable for both the wall and the floor.

Concept & design ‘The Language of Weaving’: Karlijne Brand in collaboration with Fair Fabrics.

Light and installation : Marco Broeders Co2RO

Language of Weaving Tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022 Dark & Stormy

Design studio Dark & Stormy stamping a new design.

A selection of tapestry designs by visitors to OBJECT 2022

 

Language of Weaving Tapestries Fair Fabrics OBJECT 2022 Photo Credits Lenny Oosterwijk

With stamps in the new design language, visitors could stamp their own design. Photo Credits: Lenny Oosterwijk

Fair Fabrics is geselecteerd voor OBJECT

Fair Fabrics selected for OBJECT Rotterdam

From 20 to 22 May, the monumental HAKA building in Rotterdam will once again be dominated by inspiration and innovation during the 10th edition of the OBJECT Rotterdam design fair. Interior enthusiasts and design professionals can finally meet in person again.

OBJECT is a platform for interior inspiration, innovative design labels and limited editions from established and emerging designers. There is a mix of product, furniture, fashion, light and graphic design.

1 of the rugs that will be on display during OBJECT in the making

For each edition of OBJECT, the selection of designers is carefully selected by director Anne van der Zwaag, seeking a balance between commercial and conceptual designs. Fair Fabrics is proud to once again be part of this design fair and can be found on the 4th floor with the presentation ‘The language of Weaving’. And extra festive because just like Fair Fabrics, OBJECT is also celebrating a 10 year anniversary!

Design your own rug

During OBJECT, visitors can design their own rug that will be handwoven by a Tunisian artisan workshop. The presentation “The Language of Weaving” shows with several large rugs how the Berber symbolism of the artisan weavers serves as a special means of communication.

Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Berber weavers are artisans with many years of experience, but they are also often illiterate. They process important events and experiences through symbols and colours in the rug they weave.

The artisans of the ‘Language of Weaving’ collection in the workshop in Tunisia

Berber symbolism

The form of language designs are intensely personal and must be interpreted with care. They often work with the symbols of love, nature, birth and happiness. But also stories in the form of personal convictions and life in the countryside are incorporated into the rugs. The form of language includes, for example, magic numbers and squares, verses from the Quran, Arabic script, geometric shapes, as well as references to the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

Photo: Frank Hanswijk

The history of Berber motifs goes back hundreds of years. It is unknown whether the earliest designs were used on the body in the form of tattoos, or on material objects such as rugs, leather objects or carvings. However, the long tradition of this form of language is still an integral part of the culture of North African countries, and not just in the Berber-majority regions.

1 of the artisan weavers shows a first sample of the collection ‘The Language of Weaving’.

The Language of Weaving

With the project ‘ The language of weaving’ we want to investigate whether we can find a suitable way to connect even better between end-user and artisan. By providing more insight into these forms of language, we remove boundaries, and can better read and understand cultural identity. The Language Of Weaving is not scientific research, but a way to connect the worlds on an equal level and to exchange insights.

Different (old) collection of carpets from Fair Fabrics

Concept & design ‘The Language of Weaving’: Karlijne Brand in collaboration with Fair Fabrics.

Visit Fair Fabrics during OBJECT

The Language of Weaving can be seen during OBJECT Rotterdam 2022
HAKA building | Vierhavensstraat 38-42 | Rotterdam
Friday 20 to Sunday 22 May 2022 | 10am-6pm

Tickets are available online and at the door and cost € 15.00, children under 12 can enter for free.
www.objectrotterdam.com
www.rotterdamartweek.info
A ticket also gives free access to the Euromast during the preview and exhibition days
www.euromast.nl

Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Droom en Daad in Morocco

Droom en Daad Foundation has opened an express window for art projects during the COVID-19 pandemic; the Makersloket. With this they have put a heart to dozens of Rotterdam artists by giving a direct financial impulse. Droom en Daad is going to Morocco!

Jolanda Linssen 

One of the makers who received a contribution from the Makersloket is the Rotterdam visual artist Jolanda Linssen. She works with different media such as drawing, painting, graphic techniques, ceramics and textiles. People are a recurring theme in her work. The appearance of a person, without being an image of anyone in particular. The appearance, skin, the surface are disturbed in various ways in order to search for the inner world.

Jolanda Linssen, foto: Huib Kooyker

IKC De Lis

The project for which Jolanda has submitted an application to Droom en Daad has the working title “wall tapestry”. Within her own theme she has made a design for a meters high tapestry. She has sought cooperation with Fair Fabrics to have the tapestry made by a professional artisan workshop in Morocco. As soon as it is ready, this rug will hang in primary school IKC De Lis in Rotterdam.

Basisschool IKC De Lis

Social entrepreneurship

During the project, a way was also sought to bring the connection between the artisan weavers and the children closer together. Recently, the HANDwerk teaching program was offered to the De Lis school, in which the craft was central and the children were also extensively acquainted with the weaving craft. On behalf of Fair Fabrics, Karin introduced the children to social entrepreneurship. The children in the class understood afterwards that it is of course not the intention for children to weave the carpets in Morocco, for example, and also that adults should not do that from early in the morning until late at night.

A first sample of the tapestry. Photo: Jolanda Linssen

Traveling to Morocco

In Morocco they are now waiting for our arrival, Jolanda and Karin go to the weaving workshop of Fatima to start the production of the tapestry together. The studio in the Atlas Mountains has already made a first sample, in which part of the total tapestry has been woven. We will take the stories we learn during our visit to the children of the school. And so Droom en Daad brings a piece of Rotterdam to Morocco and back again.

Fatima, copyrights Jenae Somedays, TBE

The first sample in the making

The first sample in the making

Design Thinking in Jordan

Karin from Fair Fabrics recently traveled to Jordan to go through a design thinking program with artisan entrepreneurs. The visit to Jordan leaves you wanting more! What a great country and fantastic and talented artisans.

Design Thinking in Jordan - Pottery from Manal from Amman, Jordan

Pottery from Manal from Amman, Jordan

Netherlands Embassy in Jordan

In collaboration with the Dutch embassy, Souq Fann/Leaders of Tomorrow organized a multi-day training Design Thinking in Jordan. With the help of the Design Thinking process, a step can be taken to enter the international market. Fair Fabrics founder Karin Kandt was therefore asked to design the program as an expert in this field. The entrepreneurs come from different provinces of Jordan. They are without exception very talented, each within their own craft. A good basis to continue working together to take the next step in quality design with the right ingredients.

Design Thinking in Jordan - The artisans are working on their 6 most important focus points.

The artisans are working on their 6 most important focus points.

Personal coaching

In addition to central sessions, in which beautiful examples of Dutch Design were used to inspire the artisans, there were also personal coaching sessions for all 30 participants. During the field visits, several workshops were visited in Jordan. In some cases, a concrete connection has already been made with potential Dutch enthusiastic customers. Fortunately, in addition to the full and intensive program, there was also enough time to get to know the country, its inhabitants and culture better. As far as possible in a week.

A pottery workshop in Wadi Musa

New pottery in the making.

We concluded the training with a 1-minute video pitch in which each entrepreneur introduced herself/herself to potential international clients. During the training we worked on 6 personal focus points to work with after the training.

Correctbook

We are very grateful to Social Enterprise NL colleague Correctbook because they ensured that all entrepreneurs received their own Correctbook as a gift. This was of course received with great enthusiasm by both the participants themselves and the children in the family ;-). Because not only the sustainable idea was appreciated. But the idea of giving where necessary, with a healthy business model behind it that inspired the participants, was also embraced.

The entrepreneurs in South Jordan with their Correctbook.

Even more happy entrepreneurs with their Correctbook (Amman)

Shiraka program Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The training was initiated by Leaders of Tomorrow and made possible by the Shiraka program of the Dutch Embassy in Jordan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of Shiraka in Jordan is, among other things, to support building economic growth and stimulating employment.

While visiting one of the workshops, Karin gets a demonstration from Lubna. Photo: Mohammad Sbeitan, Souq Fann

Project European Union

Leaders of Tomorrow aims to create a society of young, well-educated, critical and entrepreneurial leaders who are able to creatively serve their society. One of the successful projects is the e-commerce platform Souq Fann. This platform, financed by the European Union, offers assistance to artisanal entrepreneurs in the field of marketing and logistics. This allows them to grow their business and develop their skills. While customers around the world can also take a look at Jordan’s rich history and culture.

Karin is literally immersed in the Jordanian culture.

Design Thinking in Jordan - All entrepreneurs receive personal coaching from Karin in small groups. Photo: Mohammad Sbeitan, Souq Fann

All entrepreneurs receive personal coaching from Karin in small groups. Photo: Mohammad Sbeitan, Souq Fann

Design Thinking in Jordan - Photo: Mohammad Sbeitan, Souq Fann

Photo: Mohammad Sbeitan, Souq Fann

10% investment bonus

Fair Fabrics has turned 10!

Having a birthday means celebrating together!

Our working method does not lend itself to discounts, but we would like to reward our artisan-workshops extra for the great collaboration. 

From December 1st to December 31st 2021, we pay our artisans a 10% investment bonus when you order a custom rug from us. They will use this extra income to grow and further professionalize their own business. 

With this conscious choice we can still hand out birthday presents, but especially where it is most needed.

Go to our custom rug page

anniversary gifts

We can hardly believe it ourselves, Fair Fabrics turned 10!

The first visit to a weaving cooperative in the Moroccan Atlas mountains has been the great start of realizing our dreams; growing together in entrepreneurship by stimulating the local economy in our production countries in a fair way.

We would like to celebrate our anniversary together, which is why we have come up with various beautiful and appropriate gifts during our anniversary year. Click to links below to find our more:

Sample & Stock Sale

Mini, handwoven rug

10% investment bonus

Fair Fabrics plaid for NRC

Photo: Geert van Hertum. Photo in the background: Lenny Oosterwijk in Gallery Untitled, Rotterdam

Our beautiful hand-woven, woolen plaids will be exclusively for sale at NRC webshop from today.

Click here to go directly to the NRC webshop.

A wonderfully thick, soft and woolen plaid, for on the couch or over the foot of the bed. We designed this plaid exclusively for the readers of NRC and had it made in three different colours; dark blue, gray and red.

The Fair Fabrics plaid is available in the colors dark blue, gray and red. Photo: Geert van Hertum

The plaids are handwoven, for a fair price, by a medium-sized weaving cooperative in central Morocco. The weavers have many years of weaving experience and only use high-quality materials. They work together on the growth and professionalization of their organization. In addition, they support homeless people and problem young people from the immediate vicinity through their own studio. They offer these people a new future perspective by learning a trade.

One of the weavers in the artisan workshop in Morocco.

All plaids were sent to the Netherlands and individually packed in boxes at Onze Zaak and provided with a card with information about the makers. Onze Zaak is a special company where they help people with intellectual disabilities and who are at a distance from the labor market to find daily work. One of them is Ahlam. We share a love for Morocco and Moroccan cuisine in particular turned out to be a great topic for discussion. Before we knew it, 3 full, high pallets with plaids had been packed for NRC!

Packing up with Ahlam and chatting about a common love: Morocco

Size: 130 x 180 cm
Price: €119.00
Available in three colours: dark blue/white, grey/white and red/white
Material: wool (95%) on organic cotton (5%)

Photo: Geert van Hertum

Photo: Geert van Hertum, Location: Gallery Untitles, Rotterdam

Photo: Geert van Hertum

From olivetree to Safa Tablewares

We would like to introduce Safa Tableware!

Safa Tableware Foundation is an International Tableware Foundation. We work exclusively with traditional, transparent specialist olive wood workshops to provide distinctive & high-quality products.

Safa Tableware’s mission is to make the international market more accessible to craft workshops through fair and sustainable trade. Moreover, making the traditional crafts attractive to new generations does not lose knowledge.

Want to know more? Go directly to the website www.safatableware.com

Discovering the craft of Safa Tablewares. It comes in infinite styles and shapes. Just like decor pieces, tableware is influenced each year by trends, changing tastes, and innovation. One necessary kitchen item  -that will never go out of style- is a sturdy bowl. 

A good quality bowl is supposed to last for years and not go out of style, rather be so multifaceted that it becomes a classic piece in no time. In order for an olive wood bowl to last for years, specific know-how is required during production. Safa chooses to collaborate with the most talented workshops in Tunisia, specialized in bowls made of organic olive wood. To let you know what’s behind your new favorite bowl, we’re sharing the Safa manufacturing process with you here.

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Selecting

The first step is the selection of the right wood. Not every kind of olive tree is used for production. Only old trees that have not produced fruit for several years and for which permission has been obtained from the Tunisian government may be felled. New young trees are planted in their place. This creates a rare recycling process that makes Safa olive wood sustainably sourced.

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Sketching

Secondly, only large pieces of olive wood without cracks are used for making bowls. These must have a smooth, undamaged surface using only the best pieces of wood. So, Many different olive wood products are made in the workshop, every piece of wood is used and only a small percentage of the wood is recycled into firewood. After selecting the right piece of wood, it is cut to size and the design is sketched on the wood.

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Turning 

 Thirdly, after drawing up the design, the piece of wood is placed on the turning machine that extracts the correct diameter within. This is done simultaneously by hand with a bowl gouge. This act will unveil the basic model of the bowl. 

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Rounding

This semi-finished wooden piece is then placed on another turning machine that will round the wood from the outside. This action also makes the wood smooth and ready for the final steps in the process. 

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Sanding

The next step is to finish the wood by hand. The bowl is sanded, and minor imperfections are removed. During this step, small details can be added to the wood, such as a decorated edge or even a drawing. 

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Filling

Sometimes wood paste is then used to fill the smallest imperfections so that the entire bowl is easy to keep clean. Wood paste is made from sawdust and a binding agent.

Olive wood Safa Tableware : Oiling

The last step in the process is oiling the wood. This indispensable step ensures that the olive wood bowl shows its well-known warm golden color and retains natural fragrance. Olive wood is naturally an extremely strong and hard wood that stands the test of time. The oil layer ensures that it is kept nourished, but also heightens its moisture and stain resistance.

This entire process is carried out in the same workshop. The workshops that Safa works with are equipped with the best craftspeople who know and perfect every step in the process in order to obtain the highest quality bowls.

Bon appetit! 

Go directly to this blog via Safa Tableware

Sample & stock sale

10 years of impact

We can hardly believe it ourselves, Fair Fabrics turned 10 today!

The first visit to a weaving cooperative in the Moroccan Atlas mountains has been the great start of realizing our dreams; growing together in entrepreneurship by stimulating the local economy in our production countries in a fair way.

This image of Khadouj was taken during the first visit to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains (2011).

It didn’t all go smoothly, but that’s not what we do it for either. The most important thing is that we make as much impact as possible. We want to build a lasting bond with the makers. For example, we develop new interior products, the studios produce at a fair price and we help the makers in the field of entrepreneurship and professionalization.

Designer Willemiek is weaving together with ‘mama’ and in the meantime also shows her own ideas on the loom (2018).

Language and cultural differences make international business extra adventurous. That sometimes means that you don’t necessarily solve complicated dilemmas in the most businesslike way, but that’s why we are a social enterprise; profit is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve our mission.

While we visit the various cooperatives, we are often welcomed with open arms at home by the weavers, which takes us to the most remote but very special places (2014).

And yes, we also have many ups and downs. We will spare you, much rather we look to the future where there is still a lot of fair profit to be made. In the coming period we will try to be an even greater stable factor for many of our workshops, which do not have an easy time under the circumstances of Covid-19, among others. Many studios have hardly any income with the loss of tourism, so our mission is perhaps even more current than 10 years ago.

This seems like a route to the end of the world, but this is the kilometre-long road to one of our fine cooperatives in the deep mountains (2014).

There are many beautiful projects in the pipeline and actually do not even have the time to dwell on this beautiful milestone.

We would like to celebrate our anniversary together, which is why we have come up with various beautiful and appropriate promotions during our anniversary year. November 1st we will start with the very first anniversary promotion of 10 years of Fair Fabrics. More coming soon!

Most weavers’ living rooms are often at least as colorful as the rugs they weave (2013).

Moncef and Karin in Tunis after a conversation with Tunisian designer Chamseddine (2016).

The very first professional photo shoot with photographer Geert (2014).

A couscous meal together with the family of the ‘president’ of the cooperative (2015)

Geert in action photographing a rug for a customer order (2021).

Founder of Fair Fabrics, Karin. Photographer: Kate Lewis for TBE (2018).