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Slow Design: Purpose-Led, Small-Batch Housewares from Obakki

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Slow Design PurposeLed SmallBatch Housewares from Obakki portrait 3 9

Slow Design: Purpose-Led, Small-Batch Housewares from Obakki

May 5, 2021

Understanding the process that goes into the objects in our homes creates more intentional, conscious living: That’s the ethos of Canadian homewares brand Obakki, and it’s one we can get behind.

Founded by designer and humanitarian Treana Peake, the brand offers small-batch, limited-edition wares handmade by artisans across the globe, from cooking pots and candles to flatware and rugs. Obakki works in close partnership with the makers, with a particular focus on utilizing local, native materials and honoring traditional means of basket-making, bowl-carving, and weaving. Profits directly support the Obakki Foundation, the outfit’s counterpart focused on providing clean water access and livelihood opportunities across Africa.

Here’s a look at a few of the Obakki offerings: earthy ceramics made in Jalisco, Mexico; wooden bowls hand-carved in Mali; and baskets woven in Kenya.

eco friendly sisal baskets are woven by women weavers in kitui, kenya. “we ma 10
Above: Eco-friendly sisal baskets are woven by women weavers in Kitui, Kenya. “We make these baskets to uplift our families,” one expert weaver said. This is the 16-Inch Sisal Basket in Melange ($116); also available: the 18-Inch Sisal Basket in Stripe.
each of obakki’s wooden spoons and bowls is carved and finished by one artisa 11
Above: Each of Obakki’s wooden spoons and bowls is carved and finished by one artisan: Amadou, a master woodcarver in Mali who has been carving since he was a child using techniques passed down through the generations. Shown is a gently curved Hand-Carved 10” Redwood Bowl ($186).
another of amadou’s expertly carved bowls. 12
Above: Another of Amadou’s expertly carved bowls.
earth toned, minimalist ceramics are the product of generations of mexican pott 13
Above: Earth-toned, minimalist ceramics are the product of generations of Mexican pottery tradition. Made in Jalisco by a fair-trade studio of four master artisans, the vases and serving bowls are a mix of Indigenous technique and modern aesthetics; among the vases shown are the rounded, wide-mouthed Bol Vase in cream ($104) and taller Amphora Vase in black ($120).
each ceramic piece can take four days to make, from hand pigmenting to throwing 14
Above: Each ceramic piece can take four days to make, from hand-pigmenting to throwing, firing, and glazing. This is the Taro Vase in grey ($153); all of the vases are glazed on the inside so they can be used with or without water.
obakki recommends the smooth hand carved 8” seasoning spoon (\$67), made from 15
Above: Obakki recommends the smooth Hand-Carved 8” Seasoning Spoon ($67), made from scraps of African Blackwood left behind by logging companies, as a coffee or tea scoop.
amadou at work carving bowls by hand: “no complex machines. no fancy gadgets. 16
Above: Amadou at work carving bowls by hand: “No complex machines. No fancy gadgets. No unnecessary complications,” the brand writes on their website.

For more wares by these makers and others, head to Obakki.

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