Makers Unite at Dutch Design Week

The makers behind "Crafting: The New and The Local" exhibit at Dutch Design Week: (L-R) Yazan Maksoud, Paul Robberts, Nasam Aboud, Mazen Al Ashkar, and Noor Yousfi

The 16th edition of Dutch Design Week attracted a record number of 335,000 visitors. One of its most applauded exhibitions was HOW & WOW by the Crafts Council Netherlands that gives an intriguing insight into a craftsman’s realm. The curated exhibit includes the presentation “Crafting: The New and The Local” by Makers Unite.

The project aimed to open room for dialogue and answer the question: What is the role of crafts in enabling more inclusive societies? By using ancient and contemporary crafts from Syria and The Netherlands, real talent was able to connect to modern and innovative ideas.

With help and contributions from Wij Doen Mee and Vluchtelingen Werk, a team of newcomers from Makers Unite, Yazan Maksoud, Nasam Aboud, Noor Yousfi, Mazen Al Ashkar, and Paul Robberts, worked with the idea of bringing traditional craft in a new context. The century-old craft of Ghar (laurel) soap making led to a collaboration with esteemed Dutch ceramic studio Cor Unum. The partnership developed a soap dish using the modern glaze technique Reglaze. This process is based on a serving that combines clay mass and glaze residues. When glaze waste, in all kinds of color variants, mixed with clay will result in this beautifully changing shade of matte grayscale ceramics.

This creative process enabled a traditional craft to be translated in a new context. The art of Ghar soap making sparked renewed interest, while the reglaze process prompted innovative solutions to contemporary standards. Much like the unique output of every soap or ceramic produced, the process and the result of the entire project resulted the unity and inclusion in the parties and elements involved.

With this exhibition, Makers Unite was not only able to provide a platform for new creative talents, but it was also able to initiate conversations and inspire engagements on culture, creativity, and collaboration.