Ever thought about learning Bangladeshi quilt embroidery, Columbian bark string bag making, Nigerian indigo dyeing, Iranian wood inlay, Iranian embroidery, Bosnian sock knitting, Sudanese beading or Middle Easter knotted rug weaving. Well, now you can at the Craftsouth Traditional Crafts Skills Workshops.
Perhaps you've wandered through the markets of in Morocco (in reality or in your mind) and been awestruck by the beauty of traditional hand-crafted items. Sometimes, you'll see a made-in-china version of African beads, Middle Eastern rugs or Bangladeshi embroidery - but it's just not the same.
In this world of fast fashion, fast food and hastily made, the work of traditional artisans reminds us of an alternative, beautiful way to live. They seem to absorb the love and effort that their makers put into them. They are made to last, made to become family heirlooms and remind us of slower time when quality mattered more than profits, when minutes didn't cost money. Every stitch, every thread was done by hand and by a person with their own story to tell.
Traditional crafts skills have never been more vulnerable than right now all around the world. If war and social unrest is not disrupting communities in Africa and the Middle East, the onslaught of factories and the lure of modern life is changing the lives of villagers in Asia and Latin America. Left living in barely sustainable villages, the older skilled artisans have nobody to pass their skills down to and won't unless there is an income and prestige to producing their works.
Rather than have these skilled people turn to charity, why not support them by buying goods so they don't need our charity. Think of it as conscientious shopping. Numerous organisations sell online on behalf of communities in the Third World. One of my favourites is Global Conduct with a range of Fairtrade and traditional gifts online.
Another way to keep the arts alive and to learn more is to take a class. At the Craftsouth Traditional Crafts Skills Workshops you not only get a chance to learn techniques, but you get to sit and talk with craft practitioners from all around the world. July 23th to August 20th - learn Iranian Wood Inlay with Shima Gholami.
August 9th to September 6th - learn Iranian embroidery with Akhtar Esmailzasdeh.
August 13 and 14th - learn Bosnian Sock Knitting with Razija Beganovic.
September 3rd to 5th - learn how to weave a Middle Eastern knotted rug with Ahmad Javid Rashidi.
Materials are included in each workshop. If you become a member, you receive 20% off the price of the courses. The workshops are held in various areas in and around Adelaide.