Friday, February 26, 2010

The hilltribe flower series

Some people are under the impression that we’re working with the hilltribe artisans exclusively but that’s not the case. The hilltribe artisans work for themselves, and have been doing so for many years. The majority of work they do tend to be of heavily derived from their cultural traditions – we often see stamps of ethnic symbols: local animals and the ubiquitous elements of nature like the sun and clouds.

While beautiful in their own right, these design influences didn’t quite gel with the label’s own design philosophy. Thus, one of the things we often request the hilltribe artisans to do are abstract, geometric shapes that have a less obvious ethnic aesthetic to it. We sometimes give general guidelines or certain dimensions and shapes and textures and the final product is dictated by them, while other times see us giving specific samples of what we'd like done.

We believe that this is a mutually beneficial situation – we have the privilege of working with a group of artisans who are gifting us with a centuries-old skill of silver-smithing. On the other hand, our requests help to expand the hilltribe artisans’ portfolio which enables them to reach other clients with a less ethnic-aesthetic more successfully.

Having said this, the flower series is a series that is almost entirely design-driven by the hilltribe artisans. We merely touch it up a little bit, and possibly texture and gild it a little, while adding tiny gemstones for added glitz. It is by far the simplest of all our collections, but we love it for its wearability and its inherent karen aesthetic.

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