TU­NISIA

SHIBUI Issue - - CONTENTS -

Meet the cre­ative blend­ing Tu­nisian tra­di­tions with mod­ern de­sign.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIG­I­NALLY AND WHERE ARE YOU BASED NOW?

I’m from Biz­erte, a city in North Tu­nisia, and I’m cur­rently liv­ing in Tu­nis, the cap­i­tal city.

HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THE AMAZ­ING WORK OF THE TU­NISIAN CRAFTSWOMEN?

I’ve met the tal­ented craftswomen dur­ing my vis­its to the crafts vil­lages, cities and vil­lages mar­kets and also dur­ing trade fairs of ar­ti­san cre­ations. Some­times I find about good craftswomen by word of mouth.

CAN YOU TELL US A LIT­TLE ABOUT TU­NISIAN CUL­TURAL TRA­DI­TIONS AND CRAFT – THEIR DE­SIGNS AND HIS­TOR­I­CAL IN­FLU­ENCES ETC?

The Tu­nisian cul­tural tra­di­tion is rich with the dif­fer­ent civil­i­sa­tions that went through the coun­try as well as the peo­ple who have per­pet­u­ated its bright­ness through­out times.

Today, the Tu­nisian her­itage has the print of each one of them whether they are Nu­mid­i­ans, Ro­mans, Carthagini­ans or Arab Mus­lims.

Cumulated tra­di­tions, man­ual dex­ter­ity and cre­ative in­tel­li­gence are based on and blended with the hand­i­craft prod­uct be it util­i­tar­ian or dec­o­ra­tive, tra­di­tional or mod­ern. It has a strong pres­ence in ev­ery­day life.

TU­NISIAN LO­CAL ESSIA CHALOUEH DE­SIGNS CON­TEM­PO­RARY FUR­NI­TURE AND HOME­WARES WHICH ARE HAND­CRAFTED US­ING CUMULATED HER­ITAGE, TRA­DI­TIONAL METH­ODS AND NAT­U­RAL MA­TE­RI­ALS.

WHAT MA­TE­RI­ALS DO YOUR AR­TI­SANS WORK WITH AND ARE THE DE­SIGNS TYP­I­CAL TO TU­NISIA OR DO THEY HAVE A MOD­ERN TWIST?

Gen­er­ally, my ar­ti­sans use nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als from an­i­mal fi­bres such as

wool, an­i­mal hair and leather, plant fi­bres, or wood such as Tu­nisian olive tree wood.

In my de­signs, I play on the com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent Tu­nisian ma­te­ri­als and tex­tures. Then I have them wo­ven by ar­ti­sans to de­sign my bean­bags, stools, or cush­ions, blend­ing the tra­di­tional au­then­tic­ity of the ar­ti­sans with a res­o­lutely con­tem­po­rary style.

HOW DOES YOUR WORK WITH POUFFY DE­SIGNS BEN­E­FIT THE LO­CAL COM­MU­NITY IN TU­NISIA?

I col­lab­o­rate with tal­ented ar­ti­sans spread all over Tu­nisia. Ev­ery re­gion is renowned for the know-how of its ar­ti­sans, for in­stance, the re­gions of Sidi Bouzid and Kasser­ine are spe­cial­ists in tra­di­tional wool weav­ing. Through our ac­tiv­ity we’ve cre­ated di­rect and in­di­rect jobs with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of ru­ral ar­ti­san women.

CAN YOU DE­SCRIBE HOW RE­WARD­ING THAT EX­PE­RI­ENCE IS FOR YOU AS A BUSI­NESS­WOMAN?

My ex­pe­ri­ence led me to learn a great deal through my ac­quain­tances, the meet­ings, col­lab­o­ra­tion, ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences and know-how. Pa­tience and pas­sion are the words that best char­ac­ter­ize my ap­proach and my per­sonal work.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO VISIT IN TU­NISIA?

Ev­ery sin­gle re­gion in Tu­nisia has its ap­peal and history. I re­ally love Sidi Bou Said, Djerba and Ham­mamet.

TOP TRAVEL TIP IN THE RE­GION?

Trav­ellers should ex­plore his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments, as an ex­pe­ri­ence it is ex­tremely en­rich­ing. And more im­por­tantly, taste the Tu­nisian dishes and tra­di­tional sweets, a real de­light.

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORK­ING ON FOR THE FU­TURE?

The pas­sion that drives me in my work, al­ways urges me to progress and go for­ward to ex­plore new in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and to pro­mote our ex­per­tise as well as Tu­nisian hand­i­crafts.

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT Tu­nisian-in­spired col­lec­tion; Essia Chaloueh.

CLOCK­WISE FROM BOT­TOM LEFT Tra­di­tional weav­ing meth­ods used in Essia’s con­tem­po­rary de­sign; hand-stitched ve­gan leather stool with red­wood; Tu­nisian craftswomen at work. Tu­nisia is par­tic­u­larly steeped in ar­ti­san history with in­flu­ences from Nu­mid­i­ans,...

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