Trochet is a Middle Eastern environmental project, which recycles items such as grocery bags into new products available for sale to the public. Crochet designer Ishrat Khawja of Fruitful Fusion has helped lead workshops to teach people to crochet with plastic bags as part of this project. In addition to the obvious environmental aspect of recycling old materials, this project is intended to help low-income women develop the skill of plarn crochet into a means towards earning an income.
What is Trochet?
The word “trochet” is being used in this project and it is a word that combines trash and crochet. The idea is, of course, that you can take items that others see as trash (such as plastic bags) and use the craft of crochet to turn them into works of art and even valuable consumer goods. These goods can be sold so that women with little or no income can support themselves using handcrafting and recycled materials.
Trochet is part of a larger project by Diana Rayyan called Ateeq. From a press release about this project:
“Ateeq is an Arabic word that means old-fashioned or vintage. It is the name of a new initiative that aims to rekindle often-neglected traits such as quality, perfection, and authenticity in creative work under the slogan of “Mind to Hand”. These ethics form the basis of the application and execution of the many projects headed by Ateeq. The initiative also aims to convert individuals from being pure consumers to being producers as well. “I believe the mind and the hand have generally lost connection with each other through the years and with Ateeq I am trying to unblock this passage between mind and hand to unleash creativity and innovation,” says Diana Rayyan, Ateeq’s Founder.”
The press release adds:
“With Ateeq, one can let their creative imagination loose and be a part of enhancing the world through the simple things they do. Ateeq calls upon all of those who have found their passion in life, not to forget to live their lives day by day and let every day be a productive one through quality of work, authenticity, and perfection.”
Ishrat Khawja’s Crochet Workshops
Ateeq founder Diana Rayyan teemed up with crochet designer Ishrat Khawja of Fruitful Fusion to help bring this Trochet project to life. Ishrat came up with original crochet designs using plarn. She then hosted a two-day workshop “where interested crocheters gathered to collaboratively work on producing meaningful items from plastic and other recyclables.” But there was more to it than just teaching some people how to crochet with plarn. Part of the project is giving a new skill to low-income women, showing them how to use affordable recylable materials to create consumer goods that they may be able to sell to improve their own economic situations. This helps create sustainable livings, productive periods of creative expression, stronger communities and a greener earth.
The first workshop took place “at the ever-supportive and nurturing center for creativity Rawaj Center, one of Majid Society’s programs. Majid Society “aims to empower women by training them, holding various workshops and allowing them to produce all sorts of items on the premises, from school uniforms to beautiful toiletry bags.” The women who attended the workshop succeeded in making consumer goods, like keychains, out of crocheted plastic bags and recycled metal hangers. They were also successful in seeing some sales of these goods. Ishrat said that everyone learned a lot in the two days of working together and were very inspired to make this project a success.
New workshops are lined up. Additionally, there are some orders in the works for the people involved to crochet recycled bean bags and key chains in large quantities so that may provide some good steady income for the women participating in these crochet workshops.
Ishrat on Plarn
“Crocheting with plastic or plarn (plastic + yarn) can be tricky. It has to be the right thickness so as not to break easily and it shouldn’t be too sticky.”
I am so inspired to see this project developing. Ateeq sounds like it offers a variety of interesting projects that are designed to encourage the entire process of handcrafted productivity. Trochet incorporates the elements of crochet, recycled materials and sustainable economic futures into that project. And it’s all developing within a community of women who seem very inclined to do what they can to help each other out. I look forward to more news from the project as it continues!