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Pulling up a Chair to Cyprus Craft

craftsmanship cultural heritage

The Phini Chair initiative in Cyprus, led by the Dio Dio Collective, aims to revive the traditional chair-making industry in the village of Phini. It focuses on preserving this craft through skill transmission, research, and documentation, highlighting cultural resilience and the importance of sustainable practices in artisanal craftsmanship. The Dio Dio Collective, founded by Konstantina Achilleos and Tuomas Venalainen, utilizes reclaimed materials and recycled silver to create unique pieces of handicraft, including the Phini Chair. Through their research and education efforts, they aim to inspire others to embrace and innovate upon these time-honored techniques, while also seeking tangible cultural policy support to sustain the island’s heritage.

What is the Phini Chair initiative in Cyprus?

The Phini Chair initiative in Cyprus, led by the Dio Dio Collective, aims to revive the traditional chair-making industry in the village of Phini. It focuses on preserving this craft through skill transmission, research, and documentation. The initiative highlights cultural resilience and the importance of sustainable practices in artisanal craftsmanship.

The Heart of Cypriot Tradition

Nestled among the cobblestone streets and the echoes of history, the mediaeval villages of Cyprus are a remarkable blend of past and present. In the Limassol district, the village of Phini stands out for its enchanting natural beauty and a storied tradition of local arts and crafts. Beyond its picturesque charm, Phini has earned recognition by UNESCO, celebrating its place as a bastion of intangible cultural heritage.

Dio Dio Collective: Crafting a Legacy

At the forefront of preserving Phini’s artisan legacy is the Dio Dio Collective. Established in 2015 by Konstantina Achilleos and her Finnish counterpart Tuomas Venalainen, this grassroots organisation embodies the spirit of creativity and ethical artistry. Achilleos, a native of Limassol born in 1989, pursued her passion for sculpting and fine arts at Turku University of Applied Sciences in Finland, followed by studies in traditional handicraft at the S├ími Education Institute.

The collective’s ethos is grounded in sustainability, utilizing reclaimed materials like bone and wood and recycled silver to craft their creations. Achilleos and Venalainen pour their heart into every piece, from the unique puukko knives to the kuksa cups, ensuring that each item reflects the cultural tapestry of their surroundings.

The Phini Chair: A Symbol of Cultural Resilience

Perhaps the most illustrious of their projects is the Phini Chair initiative. Stemming from Achilleos’ fascination with a traditional chair crafted by her great grandparents, the initiative has sparked a renaissance in the village’s chair-making industry. It emphasizes the importance of skill transmission, research, and documentation in sustaining this venerable craft.

The collective’s research delves into the Phini chair’s origins, materials, and techniques, culminating in a planned book release and exhibition later this year. Their work breathes new life into a fading art, counteracting the decline in local chairmakers and preserving the knowledge for future artisans.

Education and Outreach

Achilleos’ return to Cyprus after her studies abroad marked a commitment to safeguarding local traditions. The Dio dio Collective’s dedication to education is evident in their proactive approach to sharing knowledge. By teaching the nuances of chair making, they aspire to inspire others to embrace and innovate upon these time-honoured techniques.

Challenges and Support

Despite the warm reception of the Phini Chair initiative, Achilleos notes a disparity between verbal commendations from government officials and tangible cultural policy support. The collective seeks not only recognition but also proactive measures to sustain the island’s cultural heritage.

The collective leverages a global network of skilled creatives, fostering a collaborative environment that transcends borders. Their transparent knowledge-sharing approach ensures that the wisdom of the past informs the innovations of the future.

Embracing the Future

In a world increasingly dominated by mass production, the Dio dio Collective and the Phini Chair initiative stand as testaments to the enduring value of tradition. Achilleos’ work is a reminder that the crafts of yesteryear hold lessons in sustainability and cultural identity that are quintessential for contemporary society.

For more information on the Phini Chair initiative and the Dio dio Handicraft collective, you can visit their online presence and delve deeper into the world of Cypriot craftsmanship and heritage.

Visit Dio dio Handicraft Collective

Quick Recap:

  • The Phini Chair initiative in Cyprus aims to revive the traditional chair-making industry in the village of Phini, focusing on skill transmission, research, and documentation.
  • The Dio Dio Collective, founded by Konstantina Achilleos and Tuomas Venalainen, utilizes reclaimed materials and recycled silver to create unique pieces of handicraft, including the Phini Chair.
  • The Phini Chair initiative highlights cultural resilience and the importance of sustainable practices in artisanal craftsmanship.
  • The Dio Dio Collective is dedicated to preserving Phini’s artisan legacy and educating others about traditional handicraft techniques.
  • Despite verbal commendations, the collective seeks tangible cultural policy support to sustain the island’s heritage.

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