Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council engages with women artisans across the UAE٬ Middle East٬ North Africa٬ South and Southeast Asia regions to empower them economically and socially through vocational training and upskilling programs٬ ensuring the preservation of Indigenous craft heritage.
A hub of global crafts collaborations٬ Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council ensures the modernization of traditional crafts٬ and creates new market opportunities for local craftswomen by partnering them with international designers and artists٬ merging Emirati crafts and artisanal techniques with cutting-edge design and innovation to produce Emirati-crafted products reflective of culture today.
Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council seeks to create a valued women-artisan economy by creating a sustainable market in which re-contextualized traditional crafts and crafted products exist.
A platform that preserves and protects the heritage and legacy of crafts٬ Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council ensures documentation of tangible and intangible craft heritage and creates publications that serve as a reference to a culture that relies heavily on storytelling. Its latest efforts have led to Sharjah’s recognition as a city of Crafts and Folk Art for the craft of Talli in 2019 by UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.
Irthi operates under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi٬ wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA.
Irthi’s Series brings the sophistication and exquisite detailing of luxury٬ handmade crafts to everyday items.
Zenobia Collection: Irthi x Nada Debs | Emirati Talli x Lebanese Marquetry
This collection initiates a dialogue between two crafts from different worlds and weaves them together to create an entirely new identity. The crafts٬ although similar in appearance٬ involve very different processes and materials. One practiced predominately by men is produced using wooden cross sections that are assembled together and then shaved using machine tools٬ while the other is hand-woven by women using cotton and metallic threads. Through their application٬ an exchange happens as the Talli becomes solid while lending its supple characteristics to the Marquetry.
The forms٬ typically used for copper pots, are translated in solid oak and woven with narratives uniting the journeys and expertise of craftsmen and craftswomen from different parts of the region. The result is a contemporary collection of multifunctional bowls٬ elongated vases and stackable seats that can be used as center pieces in the home.
Sijada Collection: Irthi x UNHCR By Eman Al Rahma | Emirati Motifs x Pakistani Carpet Weaving
By weaving the worlds of Emirati and Pakistani cultural heritage٬ Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council launches a collection that represents a contemporary reinterpretation of handloom weaved silk and wool carpets.
Drawing inspiration from motifs found within the UAE’s mountainous topography٬ architectural doors٬ and within Safeefah interior soft furnishing items, UNHCR’s Pakistani and Afghani artisans are fusing an inspiring choice of new vocabulary of motifs by grasping the main elements of traditional designs to create a contemporary visual language.
Nadd Collection: Irthi x Fatima Al Zaabi | Emirati Clay
This collection aims to demonstrate how tradition and innovation can coexist in the same project. The daring experiment highlights how a traditional Emirati craft such as clay can be merged with modern lifestyle narratives.
The collection develops a sculptural range of tableware to be used as center pieces in living spaces.
Irthi x Nada Debs: The Makers
Watch a behind-the-scenes short documentary about IRTHI’s recently released Zenobia collection with Nada Debs.