As the oft-cited Maya Angelou famously said, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going”. Amplifying this sentiment and all conversations surrounding ancestral roots and inspired beginnings, are the talented collaborators representing The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG). Their debut textile collection—comprised of fabrics, wallcoverings and trims—for S. Harris exhibits five artisan-minded (and distinctly accomplished) interior designers who bonded together, alongside Creative Director Jodi Finer, to rewrite a textural narrative for a collection centered around history and heritage—Discover Orejen.
Orejen tells a well-woven story of genuine craft, care and beauty by way of the nomadic artists that first forged them in the only way they knew how—through didactic experience and cultural technique. Paying homage to these early innovators are BADG members: Malene Barnett, Rayman Boozer, Linda Hayslett, Erin Shakoor, and Beth Diana Smith, who looked to East Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands as their muse.
Locales that are deeply revered for their textile traditions, commitment to craft, magnetism through color, and material prowess. Orejen is anchored by three cultural artisan forms intrinsic to these regions: braiding, woodworking and beading.
BOOK OF OREJEN
SOUTHEAST ASIA // BHUTAN
Nestled securely on the eastern edge of the Himalayas is the tucked-away site of Bhutan—A country fragrant with spiritual buoyancy. Here, we extract inspiration high in the mountain passes between districts Wangdue Phodrang and Trongsa—A trek commonly known as Pele La. The journey through the sacred Pele La is encouraged by a seemingly endless stream of vibrant prayer flags that serve as a guide toward transcendence and joy. The following textiles flaunt maze-like motifs, colorful striations and detailed embroideries reminiscent of the winding journey that quite simply captures each human life.
EAST AFRICA // ZANZIBAR
Mere miles off the coast of mainland Tanzania lies storied Zanzibar—an effervescent, semi-autonomous archipelago famous for its robust spice trade. On the shores of this wind-swept island you’ll find an amalgamation of cultural convergences spoken in the common tongue of Swahili. We take influence from the fluidity of slow crashing waves, calming seascapes and a spirited tea and spice scene. The Dance of Bahari—Swahili for sea—awakens the symbolic ebbs and flows of our unity with water and nature itself. Following suit is an array of organically patterned prints and hyper-textured grounds conveyed in lively, lyrical palettes alongside natural hues and tonal neutrals.
PACIFIC ISLANDS // NEW ZEALAND + PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Known for its untouched wilderness and untamed mountainous terrain that dots the Tasman Sea, New Zealand personifies the subtle fluctuation between balance and harmony. In fact, the Māori people even coined a term for it : Utu—the reciprocation of kind deeds to uphold respect. In this compendium of textiles, we incorporate the craft of Bilum (weaving technique) and Moko (system of tattooing) to reveal the essence of Mana (honor and devotion). Prints and motifs are achieved through the juxtaposition of such inculcated craftsmanship. And color is no exception, here the palettes are subdued while prints are bold and grounds are repetitious.