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Read ‘The Craft Issue’ – Note from the editor

Read identity's April 2023 issue on ISSUU or grab your copy

I am sure by now it is no secret how highly I value craft and its role in preserving knowledge, supporting communities, advocating for slower living and thinking creatively about the future. 

This is why the relationship between an artisan and a designer is so special: each one enriches the other in the beauty of what was and what could be. Without the creativity and risk-taking nature of the designer, the artisan is bound by the past; and without the intricate skill set of the artisan, a designer’s vision may sometimes be just that. The convergence of the two worlds is what has brought to light some of the most enlightening pieces of design. As Italian automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro once said: “It wasn’t an architect or a designer who invented objects, but an artisan.” 

Our cover this month features Egyptian-Australian designer Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem’s – founder of Sydney-based YSG Studio – first collection for handcrafted rug brand Tappeti, titled ‘Real Majik’; a celebration of her heritage that is inspired by Egypt’s pharaonic past. 

The 12-piece collection features combinations of art silk [artificial silk], hemp, Tibetan highland wool and nettle, which make up the intricate hand-knotted rugs, revealing an exquisite level of pattern detailing. 

“I am impressed with the way Tappeti weaves ethics and environmental sustainability into their business,” Ghoniem told me. “Traditional makers in India and Nepal produce each piece using time-honoured looming and tufting techniques, and are paid fair wages, enabling them to work amongst their traditional community.” 

In other parts of the magazine, Lebanese ceramicist Nathalie Khayat reveals her artisanal process, which is less technical and more intuitive: “When I am moved by something I heard or saw, I feel like running to the studio and starting to make,” she tells identity. “While working on a piece, I look at how it sounds and moves. I allow it to have a feeling, something subtle, sensual, uncontrolled. At the end, nature is always present.” 

In this issue, I also chatted to interior design and architect Vianca Soleil Roquero, whose beach home in a remote island in the Philippines I had seen on Instagram a year ago and been keen to feature. Called Unna, the home-turned-mini resort embodies everything one can hope for when adopting a slower pace in life: using natural materials, working with one’s local community and allowing nature fully into your life.

“I challenged myself to somehow unlearn the approach I was used to back in the city, [moving] from being too technical and by-the-book to [taking] a more nonchalant and intuitive approach,” Roquero shared. “My idea was to go back to the basics by building like an island local, to embrace beauty in restraint but also leave some room for playfulness.” 

While many of us are busy being caught up in the blur of fast-paced city life, paying attention to craft can help one learn how to slow down and appreciate the present moment. 

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