Handmade by indigenous artisans, these culturally authentic cabinet panel inserts and add-ons transform an ordinary kitchen into an exotic masterwork.
Creating an authentic and original kitchen doesn't have to be a costly or time-consuming task. In fact, upgrading your space with beautiful, handcrafted kitchen accessories from the Caribbean can now be done in a weekend, thanks to the hard work of a fascinating social enterprise named Wabbani, connecting you and me to indigenous artisans in the Republic of Guyana.
Formed through a partnership of two non-profits, Wabbani's remote and rural artisans create authentic, handcrafted products that can turn any store-bought kitchen into one that resonates like an ethnic ensemble. These handcrafted kitchen add-ons come pre-sized for many IKEA cabinets and can be custom-fit for any kitchen. Our interior designer friends are going to love these!
Below are three such add-ons that we think can greatly enrich an otherwise mundane kitchen!
Most kitchens have panel doors that are a solid, singular color. But why stop there? Ordinary, flat-panel doors can be given an incredible appearance with basket-woven cabinet panel inserts.
This newly discovered collection is made by the Macushi (indigenous) people of Guyana in South America. Basketry panels that fit door and drawer fronts are handwoven from a bamboo-like reed that grows tall and abundant. I don't know about you, but I think that bringing more of nature into your kitchen can make for a much more relaxing atmosphere.
These panel designs are based on the traditional flat-walled basket forms, such as square baskets, flat baskets and mats. They are currently made in 3 patterns: Diamondback, Deertrail and Anaconda, with 4 colorfast hues (plus Natural) chosen for their similarity to local dyes. The panels are sealed with a wipe-able coating and easily adhere to the doors without damaging them.
Panels fit all door sizes in IKEA's Bjorket, Ekestad, Grimslov (wood finishes), and Torhamn lines. Custom sizes are also available to fit any recessed-panel kitchen.
Virtually every kitchen has unamusing handles or pulls. But yours could have a story behind them!
Knobs from Guyana are molded from local clay that fires from peach-to-terracotta shades. The clay is either etched or embossed with traditional indigenous symbols found on baskets and rock paintings.So enhance your kitchen by incorporating a diverse set of symbols and designs into your cupboard and door handles, making your kitchen one that cannot be forgotten.
The lighting in your kitchen is crucial to the overall persona. So why don't we make a statement with your lamps!
The Macushi are one of the Carib peoples (as in "Caribbean") reputed to be the inventors of the hammock. Like basket making, hammock weaving is a fading yet miraculous art - many pounds of cotton and many months of work go into each one.
Wabbani's lampshade slipcovers preserve the art by applying the same skills and material to a much smaller item. Their artisans redesigned the traditional loom to yield a continuous circle of hammock weave, sized to fit drum lampshades like IKEA's NYMO line, but also available in custom sizes.
Special thanks to Wabbani student intern Maggie Crist for bringing these new kitchen products to our attention and for providing us with such beautiful pictures and exciting news. We look forward to seeing the things that homeowners and designers will do with these!