Celebrating craft skills of refugees

MADE51 showcase at Ambiente 2019

Jan 31, 2019 by Irene Vermeulen

UNHCR’s initiative MADE51 brings products made by refugees to the market. At trade fair Ambiente, MADE51 is presenting a showcase featuring new product ranges. Craftscurator has been involved in identifying the available craft skills in refugee communities, and has given advise on how to translate those skills into attractive products for the market. A sneak peak of the outstanding techniques available.

The Middle east is known for its quality craftsmanship, especially in working with textiles. Weaving, crocheting and knitting is widely practiced, but each region has its own specific talent for embellishing textiles: embroidering, beading and quilting. In Jordan and Lebanon many Syrian and Palestine refugees can be found, many of whom have great embroidery skills. Sep from Jordan and Rim & Roll from Lebanon both work with refugee artisans, creating fabulous textiles for the home. Tight Knit Syria is a social enterprise working in Lebanon, and they have worked with a group of women that excel in knitting. Their knitted shawls are held in place with an embroidered strap.

Weave is a social enterprise working in Thailand, on the Thai-Myanmar border, where many Karen refugees live. They provide work and income for women, who weave and embroider beautiful textiles. MADE51 is not just showcasing a range of home textiles made of natural dyed cotton, but also ranges of shawls with intricate weaving patterns. In Pakistan, Artisan Links is working with Afghan refugees, focusing mainly on embroidery. Plenty to choose from, as the region has a rich tradition of techniques and patterns.

See Craftscurator's previous post on MADE51 with more information on the concept and approach.

The MADE51 showcase is an excellent opportunity for buyers to explore new and unseen sources and techniques. At Ambiente, more than 24 product ranges will be exhibited, and visitors can learn more about the local social enterprises supplying the products, and the refugee communities producing them. MADE51 can be found in the Galleria between hall 8 and 9 on the ground floor, from February 8-12, 2019.

MADE51 | Ambiente |

Intricate cross stitch embroidery
by Sep Jordan for MADE51
Handwoven naturally dyed cotton
by Weave for MADE51
Thick chain stitch in wool
by Artisan Links for MADE51
Hand knitted shawls
by Tight Knit Syria for MADE51
Fine hand woven patterns
by Weave for MADE51
Hand embroidery on velvet
by Rim & Roll for MADE51