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Woodturner Darren Appiagyei Revealing the Natural Beauty of Wood

The first thing I thought when I some of these vessels was that they are ceramics. The organic sculptural quality of the forms and the textured surface patterns display the qualities of clay. The vessels in fact are made from wood, hand-turned in a process that retains and reveals the unique characteristics of each piece used. The vessels are the creation of Darren Appiagyei a self-taught wood-turner and founder of In The Grain.

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Simply Stylish Baskets Handwoven in Ghana

While catching up on the latest international tradeshows I came across some simple elegant baskets by Twenty One Tonnes an online retailer that seeks to celebrate the beauty of global craft by working with artisans around the world to create beautifully-crafted home decor collections and. The baskets are beautiful and sophisticated in their simplicity, using size, the colour of the material, and the woven patterns to give them character.

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Designer Masks to Keep You Safe and Fashionable

To say it’s been an ‘interesting’ few months would be a gross understatement as life as we know it has been turned on its head. And oh how quickly we adapt. Now I don’t think twice now about grabbing a mask and a pair of gloves before heading out for essential reasons. With some countries starting to ease their imposed lockdown restrictions it has become increasingly clear we are not safe yet and that masks are going to be an essential everyday accessory for some months if not years to come.

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The Elaborate Ancient Craftsmanship Of Handmade Batik Textiles

Batik is an ancient textile production technique with roots in Indonesia. In Africa batik has a long history and is still used today to produce local textiles with techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation usually mother to daughter. The Creation of Handmade Batik In Ghana is a fascinating visual essay that takes the viewer through the elaborate process. Part of a Google Arts and Culture feature the story was documented by Rahmée, founder of The Justine Project who travelled to Ghana to the Accra studio of Kwame a local batik artist who took her through the […]

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A Bright and Airy Contemporary Designer Home in Ghana

Described on Airbnb as being a unique designer oasis the bright and airy home of Nana Amu is no ordinary holiday rental. Situated in Accra, Ghana Nana’s home offers an open plan living dining kitchen space, relaxing bedroom with en suite, and a lush private garden. Previous guest guest reviews have described it as blending the style, elegance, and service of a 5 star boutique hotel with the warmth and authenticity of a private home.

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Nokware All Natural African Skincare Inspired by Grandma

Nokware is a natural skincare brand born out of a generational legacy of formulating products using traditional African herbs and oils. The company started when Tutuwa Ahwoi from Ghana met Thato Tau from Botswana whilst studying in Paris. Tutuwa introduced Thato to pure shea butter and black soap. When the duo returned to their respective home countries Thato asked Tutuwa to keep sending her the products which were not available in Southern Africa, and soon Thato’s friends were asking for them too. To keep up with demand what started out as friends sharing beauty secrets blossomed into a business selling […]

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Anita Quansah Hand-Embellished Raffia Slippers

I just had to stop for a second to feast my eyes on these too cute for words creations. They tickle my shoe obsession! These fun and fabulous statement slippers are by Anita Quansah, a London-based accessories designer. I have shared Anita’s statement jewellery previously and these slip-on shoes are next level exquisiteness, that can be dressed up or down- think floaty maxi’s, jeans, shorts, and even tailored suits.

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7 Designers and Artists Inspired by Scarification

Contemporary African designers and artists inspired by scarification and referencing the ancient African tradition in their work. Scarification is the process of superficially cutting, scratching, etching or burning permanent designs into the skin. This form of body decoration is a practice common to West Africa where for centuries the resultant markings expressed a form of unspoken communication such as rank, tribe, beauty, and strength. Patterns in the form of scars would range from simple markings to those more elaborate and intricate adorning the face, chest, torso arms and legs. Scarification is not for the faint-hearted, undergoing the practice was said […]

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Traditional African Art Referenced In David Adjaye Architectural Designs

Marrying the old with the new British/Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye brings the beauty and elegance of traditional African art pieces to several of his contemporary architecture designs. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian diplomat parents Adjaye grew up in several places including Egypt, Yemen, and Lebanon before the family moved to the UK where he resides. Adjaye founded his architectural practice Adjaye Associates in London and has offices in Ghana and New York. Adjaye also cites a growing interest in Africa, arising from a need to contribute in some way to the development of the continent that began with a decade […]

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9 Designers Crafting A Well Made In Africa Aesthetic

Atelier Fifty Five spotlights the work of 9 dynamic designers whose innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages is translated into modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And in doing so are upholding the banner of Well Made In Africa. Re-imagining techniques and materials these designers are paying homage to the skill of making things by hand thereby recognising how craft is at the heart of true luxury.

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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As I highlighted in a previous editorial on Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. The Adinkra symbols designs carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic shapes to create anything from jewellery to patterned textiles. I introduce 5 contemporary African brands referencing the Adinkra symbols in their designs, and in doing so giving them relevance in a modern day and age.

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AMWA Designs Patterned Textiles Bring A Touch of African Wisdom to a Corporate Restaurant

On Friday 8th March I got to unveil the new look atelier 55 to a group of exceptional African women entrepreneurs. Organised by Lionesses of Africa the Lioness Lean In London event was held in partnership with and at the offices of top-tier law firm Hogan Lovells. Being a breakfast event it was an early start, but it was great to catch up with familiar faces, make new connections, and to hear the stories of some truly inspirational creative women. Most of all it was a celebratory event of laughter, some emotional tears, exchanging thoughts, and lots of head-nodding. Among […]

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Adinkra Symbols Writing Traditions Connecting the Verbal and Visual

Adinkra symbols are an ancient Asante writing system, identified by the decorative, graphic forms making up each symbol. There are said to be over 100 Adinkra symbols in existence, each based on wise teachings, proverbs and folk stories that have been handed down through the generations and added to over time. Adinkra symbols served to express the connection between the verbal and the visual in Akan culture. Once sacred, their origins are steeped in history with legend speaking of two warring Kings involving the Golden Stool.

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Pamper Your Skin With 54 Thrones Botanical Skincare Made In Africa

More and more people are shunning chemically formulated on the shelf beauty products in favour of natural, holistic handcrafted formulations, and the beauty industry has witnessed a rise in brands around the world catering to this need by tapping into their own homegrown beauty rituals and bringing them to global attention. And Africa is no exception. Natural skin care ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea that have been used by African women for centuries are being recognised for their benefits, but we are only just scratching the surface. Fruit of the African soil, ingredients such as baobab, marula, and […]

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The Baba Tree Basket Company

Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region is synonymous with basket weaving, and the distinctive round-bellied Bolga Market basket with its sturdy handles. Building on the region’s basket weaving heritage local business The Baba Tree Basket Company is producing some stunning gravity-defying basket designs, woven from locally sourced natural materials and dyed in vibrant colours.

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AAKS x UNHCR Weaving For Change

Luxury artisanal accessory brand AAKS has launched a stunning home decor collection inspired by the theme Weaving for Change. The collection comprises five distinctive handcrafted lamps and light pendants, each created in partnership with women artisans from the Tuareg community in Northern Mali who are living as refugees in Burkina Faso. In working with this Tuareg community AAKS are helping to celebrate and preserve the community’s cultural identity and their time-honoured basket weaving traditions, a philosophy that has defined AAKS’s work with local communities in Ghana.

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Beazley Designs Of The Year 2017

  Sir David Adjaye has been announced as the overall winner of Beazley Design of the Year 2017, for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington designed in collaboration with The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR. Now in its tenth year Beazley Designs of the Year is an annual award and exhibition of the very best in international design held by The Design Museum, the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design and architecture; and sponsored by specialty insurers Beazley. 

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