There are few designers who I admire more than Patty Johnson; she travels the world to quietly work with local artisans, producing "goods that fuse quality with creativity beyond just low cost." She very modestly has created "an unprecedented collaboration, weaving together elements of craft production, community development and modern design." Her latest exhibition shows work produced in Guyana.
It is such a wonderful concept, fusing modern design with traditional craftsmanship, opening up new export markets. Patty writes:
The developing world is one of the next design frontiers, producing goods that fuse quality with creativity beyond just low cost. For a long time, design in these places has been relegated to handicrafts and regional products. There is no point in artisans and craft production factories in the Caribbean competing with mass-produced goods. They can instead compete on the strengths of the product, by focusing on the upper end of the market through high quality materials, detailing, production and design.
A focus on producing unique regional hybrids that combine craft tradition and contemporary design process is the aim of New Caribbean Design. Through the push and pull of cross cultural collaboration the group has balanced traditional cultural practice in the Caribbean and forward-looking design solutions; developing new methods and new vernacular that respects and elevates local traditions. In contrast with the familiar presentations of Caribbean culture--souvenirs and resort experience--this collection presents something much more dynamic: a living breathing culture with a critical role in the global design marketplace.
From Botswana to the Caribbean, Patty quietly builds a new model for the developing world, one that is "ecologically, economically, culturally and aesthetically sustainable for the long term benefit of each participating community, producer and craftsperson." I continue to be in awe. More at New Caribbean Design
More on Patty Johnson and her Friends, from IDS to ICFF:
The North South Project: A new Model for the Developing World
Mabeo Now Building With Local, Certified Woods
Peter Mabeo and Patty Johnson Unveil New Designs