Category Archives: Meet our Suppliers

The Making of a Copper Meditation Bowl

Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design

 

 

Maud-interiors-copper-meditation-bowls

Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design in these copper meditation bowls or urli.  Created by Tambat coppersmiths, as part of an initiative by social enterprise Coppre, each piece is painstakingly handcrafted.  The process is seeded in Tambat tradition and utilises techniques handed down from father to son over generations.

 

There are eight stages in the creation of our best-selling copper meditation bowls, from initially cutting the copper sheeting, to moulding the shape, to the skilled art of beating, buffering and lacquering, to the end result. One of the most complex processes, requiring a high degree of skill, strength, dexterity and keen hand-eye coordination is the beating stage.  Tiny rows of uniform indentations are created using a technique, called ‘Matharkaam, which is carried out using specially profiled beating hammers.  The indentations create a reflective, mirror-like, appearance which radiates light.  You can see the processes involved below:

 

 

 

sheets-of-copper

Sheets of copper

Making a copper meditation bowl

Cutting the copper sheet

Making a copper meditation bowl

The basic shape

making a copper meditation bowl

Heating the circle

making a copper meditation bowl

And cooling it

making a copper meditation bowl

Spinning the first draw to create the bowl shape

the making of a copper meditation bowl

Annealing the copper

the making of a copper meditation bowl

The raw copper meditation bowl (urli)

Beating-the-copper-urli

Beating to create rows of tiny uniform indentations

Buffing

Buffing

Lacquering

Lacquering

the-final-urli

The final copper meditation bowl

The history of the Tambat craftsmen

The Tambat people have been handcrafting copper ware since the seventeenth century.  They originally worked for the Peshwar rulers who were based in Pune, making armour, coins and cannons but with British rule and industrialisation they were forced to turn their attention to making utensils and ceremonial objects for the public.  The community has been declining over the years as alternative metals and plastic have replaced the demand for copper goods and there are now only about 80 Tambat households remaining.

Revitalising a dying craft

Coppre, a dynamic social enterprise, which is supported by Indian NGO, INTACH, has been set up to revitalise this dying craft and improve the livelihoods of the Tambat coppersmiths by introducing modern designs and providing training and marketing.  Copper wares were once considered heirlooms in India and we think that the timeless pieces Coppre and the Tambat craftsmen have created are ones to cherish and pass on.

 

Below, you can see some of the other designs in the range, from nature-inspired seed pod and sunflower tea light holders to copper platters.  Click here to see the entire collection.

 

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Photos of the Tambat craftsmen, Coppre

The Chiapas Collection

The story behind our latest collection of hand woven cushions and runners

I had a bumpy, vomit inducing, eighteen hour bus ride from Tulum on the coast into the Mexican highlands to meet the non-profit organisation, El Camino de los Altos, so I was delighted when I saw their hand woven cushions and runners.  Each piece is exquisitely designed using ancient weaving techniques  combining traditional Mexican artistry with bold contemporary design.

 

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 The Chiapas collection is lovingly hand-made by Mayan women using the traditional pre-Hispanic back-strap loom. Combining contemporary French design influences with ancient Mayan techniques and iconography, the organisation founders work with the craftswomen to design, create and produce the collection using only the highest quality materials.  Each piece is carefully crafted and all embroidery and finishing is done by hand.  It takes on average three days to create a back strap loom woven cushion and seven to create a table/bed runner.

As well as training the weavers and introducing new designs, El Camino De Los Altos also provides a literacy programme for them to learn Spanish and for their children to learn their own indigenous language.   The organisation also supports the artisans with loans for healthcare.

literacy-project-El-Camino

 

I’m very excited to be working with El Camino De Los Altos.  The organisation has succeeded in preserving traditional handicraft skills, whilst improving the lives of the weavers and creating a vibrant, modern collection perfect for the contemporary home.

Abuela striped cushions - Chiapas collection

Meet our Suppliers – Gone Rural baskets

Happy New Year!

 

I hope 2014 is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for you all.

 

To kick off the new year I thought I would start with a blog post on one of our new suppliers, Gone Rural, a social enterprise based in Swaziland producing beautiful baskets.  Our Gone Rural baskets were  inspired by one of the families working with Gone Rural.  Gogo (grandmother) Christina, her daughter Siphiwe and her granddaughter Bonakele all work with traditional materials and techniques passed down from generation to generation to support their families.  Gone Rural has taken an age-old craft, handed down from mother to daughter over generations and introduced innovative new weaving techniques, new materials and colours to create eye-catching, intricately constructed, modern baskets.   From the Gogo Christina open and large ribbed baskets, to the two tone block weave Bonakele baskets and the tactile black fabric and copper wire trays, all of which can be seen here, each handcrafted piece is visually stunning, providing versatile, contemporary storage solutions for the home and a sustainable income for Swazi women.

 

Gone Rural is a social enterprise, founded in the 1970s, which works with over 800 women artisans in 13 groups across Swaziland, from young women to gogos.  The women are self-employed and are provided with home-based work, enabling them to earn a sustainable income whilst still allowing them to carry out traditional duties and care for their families.

Plaiting-the-lutindzi-grass

All materials used to create the baskets are renewable, with the signature lutindzi grass (which is indigenous to Swaziland) sustainably harvested. Waste material from local textile mills is also used in some designs, such as the black and copper trays below, with the fabric strips wrapped around the grass to add another texture and interest to the baskets.

 

Gone-Rural-weavers-and-their-baskets

Purchases help support Gone Rural boMake (meaning women) a not-for-profit organisation providing health, education and empowerment programmes in Swaziland.

 

Maid in Africa, Quirky, African Cushions

There’s a story behind all of the products featured in our launch collection and today I thought I would write about our fabulous, funky, hand printed and hand painted African cushions from Maid in Africa, which I discovered and fell in love with whilst on a wonderful road trip through Nambia seven years ago.

The design duo behind the range, Micha and Andrew Weir,  were inspired to create Maid in Africa in 2006 to generate extra work for Priscilla, a young mother who had been diagnosed HIV positive and had lost her housekeeping job.  As she became weaker she wanted to be productive and so combining their creative knowledge with their ability to screen print, Maid in Africa was born. Sadly Priscilla has since passed away but the company continues to employ out of work domestic workers.

Like all the products in the Maud interiors collection, the Maid in Africa cushions are handmade.  Each cushion, detailing exotic flora and fauna from southern African life and well known brands, like Get Rich and Lucky Strike, is hand printed in black onto white cotton and then individually hand painted so no two cushions are alike.   The cushions are backed with a mix of traditional African prints and come with a plump duck feather inner pad.

There are three different styles in the collection:

HeadgearO601

 

 

Headgear

In Africa there is a saying “What you cannot carry on your head you can most probably live without.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIMALG 45x45 (Duplicate)

 

 

Maidonna

Recently featured in Lancashire Life magazine: http://www.lancashirelife.co.uk/homes-gardens/interiors

Thanks guys!

 

 

 

 

 

NewMEDB60

 

Mermaid – our competition prize this month

We are giving away one of these fabulous Mermaid designs in dark blue.

See our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/maudinteriors for details on how you can enter but hurry as the competition ends on 2nd September 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our one-of-a-kind, African cushions, from Maid in Africa, are ideal for injecting some colour into a room or  sprucing up a tired sofa or chair.  Use them individually to create a focal point  or  mix and match them to create an eye-popping riot of colours and imagery.