Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
ENCOURAGING CREATIVE CONNECTIONS THROUGH
Craft and culture at Space-leap
These workshops will also lead up to a Maker’s Market in November
Introducing a new creative space to Colombo, designer and maker Mihiri Devendra is behind the initiative, Space-leap based at the Sapumal Foundation. The concept of Space-leap is to encourage people to appreciate the work of Sri Lankan artisans and also to learn age old traditional crafts.
Q WHAT IS SPACE LEAP?
Space Leap—the maker-space based at the Sapumal Foundation is presenting designers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers with unique workshops to understand and practise traditional crafts with new commercial relevance.
Q WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?
Space Leap answers to the growing interest in traditional crafts as processes to make products of higher commercial value. The iconic Sapumal Foundation where a glowing chapter of Sri Lankan art is housed and immortalised, complements the vision of Leap Space—which is to make the knowledge behind local arts and crafts accessible to those who want to understand them, and possibly learn to create through
Q WHAT MADE YOU LAUNCH SPACE LEAP?
I wanted to add an interesting new dimension to one of Colombo’s most legendary creative spaces. I launched Space Leap last month by holding the first ever workshop introducing palmyra palm leaf weaving in partnership with artisans from Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. It was a meeting of crafts and creatives that drew in many designers, craft enthusiasts and craft-based brands in Colombo. This included the Honorary President of the DFSD Foundation–victoria Walker, Creative Consultant and Designer–robert Meeder, Cofounder of Apihappi– Aparna Samarakoon, Social craft entrepreneur behind Cane Craft– Karen Joachim, Glock Lamp Manufacturers’ Carmen Perera, and
Photographer Piotr Kopertowski. It also became an opportunity for local craft practitioners to showcase and share their know-how. With this knowledge often being inherited through generational trades and family practices, sharing it with people from around the world who value it, helps the artisans cultivate a deeper sense of devotion and connection to their craft.
Q WHY DO YOU THINK SPACE LEAP IS BEFITTING OF THE NEW NORMAL?
The world has changed so much in the last twelve months and I think we all find that more and more of our lives are now technologically driven. As much as this change is timely and necessary, there is also a flipside to it; which is that we are truly becoming disconnected with the tactile experience. So many creatives don’t get to actually touch, feel, and understand through that tactile learning. I wanted to change that. Also a part of Sri Lanka’s beauty that many don’t get to experience is its living craft heritage. “Not many get that special opportunity to sit with an artisan, get eye-to/eye, talk, and just learn. Space Leap allows you to do that.
Q WHAT CAN PEOPLE ACHIEVE BY ATTENDING A WORKSHOP AT LEAP-SPACE?
In fact, Space Leap couldn’t come at a better time. As we see the increasing importance of becoming self-reliant as both individuals and a country, it becomes a good opportunity to learn and practice with experts to find skills that we can apply for commercial and everyday benefit. Space Leap also responds to the growing need to support and revive local maker-practices, arts, and crafts, that would otherwise be forgotten or taken over by plastic imports.
Q WHAT PROGRAMMES HAVE YOU PLANNED?
Space Leap will hold monthly workshops, at its modern day ‘makerspace’. “It’s the kind of maker-space you’d find in any cosmopolitan city. I am to bring a distinctly Sri Lankan way of learning and sharing to the space through my decades of experience as a teacher. These workshops will also lead up to a Maker’s Market in November where people can not only learn and practice crafts, but also purchase authentic products directly from the artisans. The workshops will take place at the Sapumal Foundation situated at 32 Barnes Place, Colombo 7.
To receive updates about the latest workshops, the Maker Market and other Space Leap activities, share your email with mihiride@ yahoo.com