Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council Presents Design Objects By Emirati Women At London Design Fair

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Sep 22 2019 / 11:24 AM

The works on show represent Sharjah’s rich heritage and highlight the creative talent of rising female artisans in the region

Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council Presents Design Objects By Emirati Women At London Design Fair
An installation view of Irthi’s Guest Country Pavilion at London Design Fair featuring Midkhans by Irthi and Adi TochOud

Designed to empower women through craft, Sharjah-based Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council has just revealed its first Irthi product line at an exhibition at London Design Fair, showcasing the wide-ranging creative talent of women in the UAE.

The showcase of design objects includes works ranging from sculptural totem-like chair stacks to landscape-inspired, hand-blown Palestinian glass, all handcrafted by 37 women artisans part of Irthi's Bidwa Social Development Programme. Situated in Dibba Al Hisn, Sharjah, Bidwa provides Emirati women with training in handicrafts - such as palm-front weaving and hand braiding - in order to aid their professional and social development in the community.


A view of Irthi’s Guest Country Pavilion

Courtesy of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council and London Design Fair

The works on show at Irthi’s Guest Country Pavilion at London Design Fair are inspired by found materials and the landscape of the UAE. The pavilion itself is designed using camel leather and wood, representing the rich heritage of the region.

“Each year we nominate a Guest Country, drawing special attention to activities and creatives in the chosen region,” says Jimmy MacDonald, founder and director, London Design Fair.  “We have long since been intrigued by the Middle East, nowhere more so than the UAE with its ambitious plans to develop its creative sector.”


A view of Irthi’s Guest Country Pavilion

Courtesy of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council and London Design Fair

The works on show include a product collection by Fatima Al Zaabi and Venice-based architect Matteo Silverio entitled Vase, lamp and phone charger made using Murano glass and Emirati clay. Another collection by Barcelona-based Pepa Reverter and Abdallah Al Mulla comprises clay dining stools and tables that have incorporated the Emirati safeefah palm-frond weaving technique.

MacDonald adds, “The establishment of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council focusing on female artisans in the UAE, MENASEA and Central Asia is a great initiative and we are honoured to host the UK launch of their first product line at the Fair. ”

London Design Fair is on show until 22 September 2019 in London, UK