Amman Design Week – The Crafts District

I must admit, with lots of shame, that when I decided to visit the Raghadan Tourist Terminal to check out the Crafts District, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Frankly, in my 30 years living in Jordan, I have never been, and seeing that it’s located down town after the Roman Theatre I decided to drop any prejudice especially since the down town area in Amman is trying to keep an identity while it under goes renovation for the structure and design.

The Raghadan Tourist Terminal which has adequate parking space should you wish to drive there (or even better – take the ADW Bus), has around 105 shop places and stores that is run but he Ministry of Tourism and Antiques. For Amman Design week the space has been allocated to show case exceptional craftsmanship from around Jordan and the region through a journey of exploration.

Creative entrepreneurialism can be challenging, but it can also be very liberating, and it can give purpose to your life and career. Here is a walk through some of the establishments I have visited during my tour of The Crafts District.

For over 20 years, the Jordan River Foundation has been promoting one vision, a Jordan for safer children, equal opportunities, and sustainable growth.

Their product lines include embroidery collections, handmade furniture, décor items, candles, rugs, wall hanging and more, all of which assist the funds of their programs which include supporting local women at Al Karma Center (since Eid is coming up you must try their Maamoul), the Bai Hamida Weaving Project, and the Wadi Al Rayan Project.

While walking among different shops, I got to speak to designer Lina Burgan who runs Al Burgan shop. Standing tall at her craft space is a beautiful handmade gown which is inspired by the poem “Dawwarna Al Qamar” by Nizar Qabbani. With over 27 years of creating beautiful Arabic inspired handmade designs, this dress is one that you should explore on your own, as the verses of them poem lie between the folds of the skirt.

Award winning designer Sahar Madanat, has showcased such minimal work, but it speaks volumes through its minimalism. She has revived Sand Art by incorporating sand into side lamps, light bulbs, and more…

The small space for Tiraz by Widad Kawar doesn’t do justice to the traditional dress collections. The designer gives a home to the dresses to preserve Palestinian, Jordanian, and Arab heritage, and currently holds over 2,000 designs and weavings.

Aperçu Designs is co-founded by two architects who explore the possibility of leftover raw materials to create masterpieces. Believing that beauty lies in imperfection, their wood work is a promising trend that will find a place in your home or office. I love how Farah Kayyal and Tarek Hreish are up cycling materials to come up with exceptional designs.

“Kees Chic” by Diana Rayyan is remarkable; it’s a fashion brand that produces urban hand made products out of plastic bags. Talk about saving mother earth one product at a time. Instead of tossing plastic which is mostly not biodegradable the designer has converted the waste to create bean bags, yoga mats, clothes, and even laptop cushions.

The foodie in me couldn’t resist being drawn to Kamā Local Gourmet! Kamā is the Arabic word for desert truffles, a delicacy you must try at least once in your life. The shop is all about the Middle Eastern Culinary experience. Healthy, wholesome, and fresh, their product line includes organic EVOO, various seeds, thyme, orange blossom and rose water, various wheat’s. Between the Labaneh, za’tar, dukka, and sumac you’ve got yourself a great start to any day with breakfast.

My final stop was the Gift Shop, after all what’s a journey that ends without bearing gifts? T-Shirts, Hand Made Mugs, engraved pencils, and note books made out of recycled papers, all fit proudly in plastic crates waiting for a pickup and a drive to your home.

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