The inspiration for Balkan Slippers on the Way to Iceland came from asking the question of how different cultures, aesthetics or temperaments could meet and co-create by using textile handcrafts as a tool. The project brought together textile designers from Slovenia and Iceland with a group of immigrant women from Western Balkan countries. Together they created a collection of hand knitted slippers which was presented in the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the Grofin Culture House in Reykjavik (Iceland).
Creative meetings were held in the House of Happiness in Jesenice, a Slovenian town in which a large percentage of immigrants from former Yugoslavia lives. The designers invited a group of unemployed and retired women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia as well as Slovenia. They were asked to bring to the first meeting their own slippers from their past and share the story and memories about them. Later, during the creative process, those traditional Balkan slippers were gently transformed by influences from Icelandic and Slovenian designers. Step by step they became “multicultural.”
Textile practice is an important source of power and a very good way for women to achieve focus, calmness and mental health. Balkan Slippers on the Way to Iceland explores and raises the quality of life of immigrant women by using collective textile handcrafts as a tool. At the same time it provides opportunities for mutual integration between immigrants and Slovenians.
Photography: Kristjan Jarni and Oloop