Get to know the six talents of British Council’s global Crafting Futures programme and how they’re crafting future paths for art in their own ways.
There’s something inexplicably impassioning about the world of arts and crafts. It sparks joy just as it inspires creativity, it forges relationships as much as it feeds self-expression. Looking at the bigger picture, it honours the history, culture and heritage of the diverse tribes and peoples of the world – without which our identities will be lost in the name of modernisation and globalisation.
Acknowledging its power and influence, British Council’s global Crafting Futures programme seeks to bring together artists, designers and organisations from around the globe to build a positive future through craft’s potential.
The programme is currently active in over 20 countries in the world, spanning South East Asia, South Asia, Latin America and Wider Europe. Its latest Why I Make initiative sheds light on six artists of varying backgrounds and skills, who share their passion for their practice to inspire others to reimagine what they can do with traditional crafts.
Get to know the six talents of the campaign and their respective fields of arts and crafts below.
Fern Chua, Malaysia – Batik
Proudly representing Malaysia is Fern Chua, founder and designer of eponymous sustainable fashion label FERN Batik. Fern’s relationship with batik started after picking it up to rehabilitise movement in her left hand after a car accident rendered it paralysed. Today, she is known for her fresh interpretations of the traditional craft into contemporary clothing, believing that batik can also be made relatable to the younger generation. “To me, batik is more than a heritage, it is an art form,” Fern shares. Shop her latest collection, The Moroccan Series, in-stores at FERN Flagship Store in Bangsar Village II and online. Follow FERN Batik on Instagram for more updates.
Patrick Cabal, Phillipines – Papercutting
Having discovered his aptitude for paperwork from a young age, Patrick Cabal continued to hone his skills in pursuit of a greater purpose. Challenging himself to continuously innovate, he eventually found his own unique style of merging papercutting with lettering or typography. He has since also become known for creating beautiful papercut animals that spread awareness on the endangered animals of the world, often receiving commissions for them from local and international brands alike. Learn more about Patrick’s artwork on his website here or follow him on Instagram for more updates.
Saruta Kiatparkpoom, Thailand – Metalwork
After studying fine art, “Pin” Saruta Kiatparkpoom returned to her family’s metalwork business with the aim of developing it further. Realising that the post-production scrap metal can be repurposed into various objects of practical or decorative use, she began designing sculptural homeware to give these waste materials a second life. Pin’s interior design brand currently boasts a signature aesthetic of intricate, repetitive patterns forming avantgarde chandeliers, tables and other decorative art. Learn more about Pin’s work at her brand’s website here or follow her on Instagram for more updates.
Gabriela Martinez Ortiz, Mexico – Embroidery
While studying Fashion and Textile Design in university, Gabriela Martinez had felt anxious about the industry due to its fast pace and impact on nature. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon a book titled, “Slow Stitch” that she adopted a slower but more conscious road to fashion design, focusing on quality and freehand embroidery to create one-of-a-kind clothing pieces. She went on to found her brand, Ofelia & Antelmo, which produces handmade outfits designed to be one-size-fits-all, reversible and timeless. Learn more about Gabriela and her designs on her official website here or follow her brand on Instagram for more updates.
Jahday Ford, UK – Glassblowing
Since his high school days in Bermuda, Jahday Ford has experimented with woodwork, metalwork and digital processes before settling on glass as the main medium for his craft. Today, The Manchester School of Art graduate combines digital programming with traditional glassblowing techniques to form bespoke glass sculptures. His award-winning project “Breathe” has been exhibited in galleries around the UK. Learn more about Jahday’s artwork on his website here or follow him on Instagram for more updates.
Cleopatra Cosulet, Romania – Jewellery
Metalsmithing and jewellery making have a long history in Romania. But Cleopatra Cosulet doesn’t quite follow the conventional ways of these crafts, instead coming up with experimental techniques and materials for her jewellery design. As an alternative to precious gems, she prefers crafting unusual pieces of jewellery from supplies such as resin, steel wire and pigments. Learn more about Cleopatra’s artwork on her website here or follow her on Instagram for more updates.
For more information about the Crafting Futures campaign and how you can be a part of it, log on to the British Council website here.