Safeefah Tote

by Jennifer Zurick

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    How is this defined? A set of pieces produced in a predetermined quantity, typically no more than 30, and uniquely numbered either on the item itself or on the accompanying certificate of authenticity. Although generally uniform in design, slight variations may exist due to the handcrafted nature of the pieces.
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Description

Irthi collaborated with American designer Jennifer Zurick, a Smithsonian Museum acquired artist and Loewe craft prize commissioned craft artist, to combine Safeefah and other weaving techniques to create a collection of sculptural hand bags using braided camel leather.

Designed using an innovative combination of ancient indigenous weaving traditions from both the United Arab Emirates and the United States, these finely woven, contemporary handbags cross international borders and portray the bond of the creative spirit of women and weavers from different cultures around the world.

The unique quality of this collection comes from the use of traditional Safeefah techniques. Safeefah products have traditionally been made with palm fronds and used as mats and baskets, constructed as long woven strips which are coiled and sewn together.

Zurick, who is a contemporary basket-weaver, worked with Irthi’s Bidwa artisans and trainees from the Bidwa Social Development Programme to create fashionable and functional bag designs with a natural rustic aesthetic. By utilising Emirati camel leather in place of the palm, the pieces take the traditional weave in an exciting new direction.

This piece has been produced during the “Design Labs” initiative by Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council.

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About Jennifer Zurick Visit Showroom →

Jennifer Zurick is a self-taught artist specializing in black willow bark which she has been harvesting and weaving into baskets since 1980. She is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Fellowship and two Kentucky Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships and was selected for the 1999 Kentucky Arts Council Cultural Exchange Residency in Ecuador. Her work is included in a number of museum collections, including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and has won prizes and awards at national exhibitions and shows.
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