This was an inspirational project that I had the privilege of working on whilst living in South East Asia. It culminated in an exhibition at the National Singapore Museum and was the most fulfilling collaboration I have ever worked on. It inspired the 'Kura Kura Collection'.
Working alongside the ladies of the Orang Suku Laut, I was responsible for the design and creation of 'The Fishing Net', made entirely of Swarovski crystals,
A brief insight into the collaboration between Swarovski, The Island Foundation and Victoria Lodder Designs can be found in the press release below.
SWAROVSKI AND THE ISLAND FOUNDATION WITH VICTORIA LODDER TO SHINE LIGHT ON 'PEOPLE OF THE SEA’, HELPING THEM BUILD A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Singapore November 24 2014 – Swarovski has partnered with The Island Foundation charity and Victoria Lodder to stage an exhibition spotlighting a once nomadic community from the Riau Archipelago – the Orang Suku Laut or ‘People of the Sea’.
The exhibition, comprising archive and contemporary documentary photographs of the community as well as artworks inspired by their lives, will be held at the National Museum of Singapore from 16 December to 16 January 2015. The Swarovski Crystal Fishing Net has been woven by Ibu Satna, the Chief of the Village’s wife, over a period of eighteen months. It was made in Panglong Village, Bintan, with the expertise and support of bespoke jewelry designer Victoria Lodder.
Swarovski began working with the Island Foundation in 2012, donating crystal to the tribe’s women from which they crafted jewelry. The Orang Suku Laut’s skills have been passed down through generations, and it was to showcase and help sustain this unique craft that Swarovski commissioned the Crystal Net, which has become a poignant symbol representing the community’s transition from sea to land, as they strive to make the most of potential tourism development. The Island Foundation has been working with the Panglong community since 2011 to deliver relevant 21st century land-based skills and to develop a sustainable solution to clean water access.
Water conservation and access to clean water is a topic at the heart of Swarovski’s Corporate Responsibility agenda. The crystal house has a global Waterschool program which teaches the principles of sanitation and hygiene to communities - and in particular to their vulnerable groups: women and their children. Set up 15 years ago, the Waterschool program has established centers along the world’s greatest rivers – including the Ganges
Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity that goes beyond themanufacturing of crystal. Founded in 1895 in Austria, Swarovski designs, manufactures, and markets high-qualitycrystals, genuine gemstones and created stones, and finished products such as jewelry, accessories, and lighting. In addition, Swarovski Crystal Worlds was established as a unique venue dedicated to showcasing artistic interpretations of crystal. Swarovski Entertainment collaborates with established industry partners and exceptionaltalent to produce international feature films, while the Swarovski Foundation supports creativity and culture, promotes wellbeing, and conserves natural resources. Now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,480 stores in around 170 countries, morethan 24,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.33 billion euros in 2013. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2013, the Group generated revenue of about 3.02 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people. www.swarovskigroup.com
The Island Foundation
The Island Foundation is building a bridge between the Riau Archipelago, Singapore and the rest of the world. The Foundation creates programs that generate economic and social opportunity for subsistent coastal communities in the Riau Archipelago. The Island Foundation achieves this through skills transfer, collaborative networks and the promotion of local ownership. The Island Foundation is registered as a charity in both Singapore and Indonesia.www.theislandfoundation.com
Victoria Lodder trained with renowned English designer, Nigel Milne, VL ran a successful bespoke jewelry business in London for many years before arriving in Singapore in 2006. She has since set up a boutique design service in Asia, creating intensely personal pieces for her clients, working with many different workshops across South and Southeast Asia as well as London. Her designs work on the interplay between color, shape and cut, prizing near invisible mounting that allows the stones to “speak for themselves”. When she first worked with the women of Panglong village, she was blown away by their natural eye for color combination as well as their skill in stringing. "From the beginning it was clear that the women of the Orang Suku Laut have a high level of skill and dexterity honed from the complex work they have traditionally done making and repairing the villages fishing nets. Ibu in particular has an extraordinary level of skill and a rare and natural feel for intricate design and color matching that stands out. I am an in awe of the patience and dedication Ibu has shown in completing the Net"