08/10/2015

Relax and dream


Be prepared for some lovely dreams

bed

This is, of course, Nathalie lété’s showroom in the 3rd arrondissement, in Paris

By the way, available at Abc Carpet and Home (888 broadway, New York, United States)

And soon at Sue Fisher King, (Sacramento, San Francisco United States)

Amongst others. Please enquire within for more details.

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15/06/2015

A lovely new world

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12/05/2015

Rrup, (Stripes, or strrripes….could be Scottish)

S04RRP01-franges S04RRP01-franges1Made by Teresa (Resi) in mark Lulaj, with a four thread loom.

Resi is a good friend of Drande’s family -Drande is the owner. She is young, she looks young, she has energy, a feature one often sees in female characters in this area; she can look at you in a way you know you have done something wrong even though she is bearing a thin smile. She will forgive, of course, because she is good natured, but there will be a price.

In fact she is old enough to stay home and take care of her salad in the garden, or even the roses. There is a saying in the east that goes more or less like this: “it you want nice flowers, have your worst enemy prune your roses.” That might be reason she leaves her husband take care of that and, instead, she gives a hand in our partner workshop in Albania teaching the younger pupils.

Yarn, looms, wool, bare no secrets for her and her authority is undisputed for miles around.

And she loves colours.

It took us some time -and some recklessness- to convince her that symmetry is not always essential, and here we are: random colours at last.

We are also doing carpets with this technique. When they arrive you’ll be first one to know.

Available at:

Menno Kroon BV

Cornelis Schiystraat 11
1071 JC AMSTERDAM
The Netherlands
tel +31 20 679 19 50
email: winkel@mennokroon.nl

 

07/05/2015

Vegan Leather

“Vegan Leather!”

He was a big lad, good build, certainly one of those who practiced sports at some college in the USA.

“you’re pulling my leg” she said with her Southern England  accent.

“Hey lady, you say things like that to a guy where I come from…”

“I mean, you’re joking”

“Hey! No joke! Vegan leather!”

Yes, it looks like leather  it, might feel like it, but there is no animal in this.

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Purely vegan.

Veganism /ˈviːɡənɪzəm/ is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in one’s diet.

“Wow…” she said touching the surface of the cushion in a totally new way: “un-be-lie-va-ble” she  said

“yeah!”

“how come? I mean, you don’t look like the vegan kind of chap”

“A guy need his proteins…but I can change my diet if you think I should…”

“pure curiosity, of the innocent kind, if you see what I mean?” she interrupted.

“Gotcha!” he said a bit like a baseballer checking the bowler who just kicked him out of the game.

This scene could have happened at the trade shows where Po! Paris has been exhibiting the new “vegan leather” collections.

Why on earth do this? vegan leather? Do we need vegan leather? There is enough beef skin being brought from the food industry to have a vast supply of leather.

Well, at Po! Paris we take no notice of such practical facts.

There are of course many reasonable arguments against the hyper industrialisation of the meat industry, but one should admit we just happened to get involved, and simply accepted the challenge. We had the chance to be there when a group of fabulous women were asking something super positive to happen and we just contributed with our point of view.

The tree grows in their land, the art of making the oldest known fabric is practiced by men of their country since records were ever put in writing. All we needed was to come up with an idea.

“We have barkcloth!” said one of the women during that first meeting in Kampala. She was black, he had more of a pink complexion, feeling somehow inadequate, inquiring what local material could be used for making new products.

“Barkcloth!” they all repeated, till someone started with a drum and the italian coordinator was flying on a field of arms laughing, everybody going crazy, the American waiting for his turn and the pink man hoping the approaching storm will get him out of it.

crazy

Yes, barkcloth. You can’t say “no” to barkcloth. No one can.

You have to use it, touch it, make something out of it.

Beautiful material, the art of one tribe in Uganda. Anybody in contact with this material feels compelled to do something about it. Cultural heritage of humanity, the Unesco people felt compelled to say.

And here we are. No missionaries; pink, but, nevertheless, no missionaries.Invited to do something together with this group of women who have the greatest enthusiasm in the world.

We were just captivated by the material and the people so we developed Mutuba skin, a derivative of the barkcloth through a special process to make it viable for, let’s say, a “durable use in the modern household”. We’l let our sports chap say that. It just sounds better.

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Available soon at

Abc New York
888, Broadway
NY 10003 NEW YORK
Usa
+1 212 473 3000
www.abc.com
21/04/2015

Comfort

S04MTBN3-scene S04MTBN3Mutuba cushion covers.

Available soon at

Abc New York
888, Broadway
NY 10003 NEW YORK
Usa
+1 212 473 3000
www.abc.com

 

From tree to planter

 

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At first a tree.

Then Vincent strips the bark from a Mutuba tree in the countryside nearby Masaka, off Lake Victoria in Uganda and pounds it with his father using a wooden mallet, under a banana leaf shack.

The children watch them as they work on the bark for hours, chatting and singing sometimes to the rhythm of the pounding.

That is how they will learn to work on the bark, the same way it has been done for centuries.

Po! Paris found a way to make it look like leather, lined with washable fabric and made planters in their workshop in Uganda.

20x20x22 cm

30x30x28 cm

50x50x28 cm

Available soon

Menno Kroon BV

Cornelis Schiystraat 11
1071 JC AMSTERDAM
The Netherlands
tel +31 20 679 19 50
winkel@mennokroon.nl

 

22/03/2015

Mutuba

Mutuba line

Bark cloth is the result of a perfect harmony between mankind and nature. Harvesting and preparing bark cloth is a tradition of the Baganda tribe, an exceptional art passed on through generations for more than 600 years.

Nowadays, only a few families still possess the knowledge that allows a simple bark to become one the masterpieces of the intangible heritage of humanity, as Unesco has recently defined it. Vincent is one of these « artists ». Member of the Ngonge clan, he learnt this know-how from his father who learnt in turn by his from his own ancestors.

The tree, a middle sized plant of the Ficus family, must be at least six years old before it can deliver its first usable bark, an ordinary grayish coloured bark to the inexperienced eye. For the craftsman it is ripe to become a cloth as large as 18 square feet (6m2), just as thin and strong as woven linen. Once retrieved of its bark the tree is at rest for six months before the next harvest.

The bark is folded and processed while it is still fresh, steamed and beaten with a wooden mallet by two or three men working side by side under a shed in the garden.

In 2013 an NGO in Uganda (East Africa) asked Po! Paris to create a development project involving a group of women on the outskirts of the capital Kampala. Mark Eden Schooley and John Felici created a new line of bags with using bark cloth instead of leather. The bark cloth is treated and painted in white or black in Kampala by the women, lined and sewn in their small workshop providing income to the community helping finance medication, schooling fees.

This is the first step Po! Paris treads out of Albania, from eastern Europe straight to eastern Africa. A long step, far away, bringing people and stories together.

(Photos by Mark Eden Schooley)

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13/11/2014

And then, Mutuba!

 

 

 

 

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photos ©MarkEdenSchooley

12/11/2014

N° 1 K-Line Mutuba

S05MTBK1-NR1White croppedK for Kireka.

Some say chireka, others kireka.

Kathrine and the Mama’s made it, we’ve taken it everywhere.

 

 

25/07/2014

Mutuba Collection

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Mutuba skin is the fruit of a perfect harmony between man and nature, a tradition dating as far back as the 15th century. Recently proclaimed masterpiece of immaterial human heritage by Unesco, it is the tradition of the Baganda tribe based in southern Uganda. The fiber is extracted from the bark of the mutuba tree. Beaten, steamed and dried in the sun it acquires the looks of an animal skin, large, flexible and resistant.

Only few people possess the ancestral knowledge to make the cloth perfectly smooth, a knowledge passed forward to the younger generation exclusively within the family through repetition and observation.

Po! Paris was invited to Uganda by a local organisation leading various gender orientated activities to help create  a new social business following our experience in the Balkans.

Together with Mark Eden Schooley we sourced the locally available materials and designed a new line of bags and pouches in mutuba skin.

The fibre is treated with latex based paint, sanded and waxed, and comes in many different shapes and finishes.

This activity contributes significantly to the survival of the Barkcloth tradition and to the development of new social businesses in the outskirts of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

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