IDS12: Patty Johnson Works with Haitian Artisans to Create Vodunuvo

Patty JohnsonLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

There are star designers who fly all over the world doing luxe hotels and fancy lamps, and there are those like Patty Johnson, who quietly help artisans and manufacturers in less developed parts of the world, where artisans have no real market for their skills. She is sort of a Cameron Sinclair of product design, working in Africa with Peter Mabeo, in Guyana with local artisans, and now presenting a new collection from Haiti.

recycled stuffLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Patty says that the Haitians are the ultimate recyclers; the pot at the right was made from recycled cans. The strainers and lamp are all made from tin cans.

bag of rice turned into trayLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

This tray was even made from a bag of rice. The project is called Vodunuvo:

Vodunuvo is design inspired by the tribulation, struggle and survival of one of the world's oldest religions. The temple artist must transform an everyday space into a place that opens the doors to imagination. As Vodu artist transform space, we are re-examining and transforming these artefacts, reimagining them as projects and objects that carry the essential culture of Haiti in a new form.

patty table Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The Iron Market in Port au Prince serves Haitians as a place to buy household goods, food and clothes. Unlike other markets, one third is a Vodu market dedicated to supplying materials, temple are and artefacts to the public. This installation gives a view into market life and the everyday practise of Vodu in Haiti through images and objects both found and new. It offers a project-in process view of the convergence of design with ethnography, product and artefact.

bottlesLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Patty is working with BrandAid Haiti, where "artisans are getting access to new opportunities to rebuild their communities and continue creating beautiful art." More at Patty Johnson

IDS12: Patty Johnson Works with Haitian Artisans to Create Vodunuvo
The Toronto designer has created an unprecedented collaboration, weaving together elements of craft production, community development and modern design.

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