Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

EN­COUR­AG­ING CRE­ATIVE CON­NEC­TIONS THROUGH

Craft and cul­ture at Space-leap

- BY TINA ED­WARD GUNAWARDHA­NA

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

mean­ing­ful pro­cesses.

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

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 ??  ?? Mi­hiri With An Ar­ti­san
Mi­hiri With An Ar­ti­san
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