Columnists,Tina Edward Gunawardhana,Main Slider l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 8 Oct 2020     - 353

Creative Connections Through Craft and Culture

Maker and designer Mihiri Devendra has taken a leap of faith and launched Space Leap, which is a maker space based at the Sapumal Foundation in Colombo. Space Leap will play host to designers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers who will conduct unique workshops to enable people to understand and practice traditional crafts with a new commercial relevance.

Mihiri believes that this space will add an interesting new dimension to one of Colombo’s most legendary creative spaces as it will answer to the growing interest in traditional crafts as processes to make products of higher commercial value and enable people to gain an understanding and knowledge behind local arts and crafts accessible to those who want to understand them, and possibly learn to create through meaningful processes.

Having launched Leap Space last month with its first ever workshop introducing Palmyra palm leaf weaving in partnership with artisans from Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. It was a meeting of crafts and creatives that drew in many designers, craft enthusiasts and craft-based brands in Colombo. This included the Honorary President of the DFSD Foundation–Victoria Walker, Creative Consultant and Designer–Robert Meeder, Cofounder of Apihappi– Aparna Samarakoon, Social craft entrepreneur behind Cane Craft– Karen Joachim, Glock Lamp Manufacturers’ Carmen Perera, and Photographer Piotr Kopertowski. It also became an opportunity for local craft practitioners to showcase and share their know-how. With this knowledge often being inherited through generational trades and family practices, sharing it with people from around the world who value it, helps the artisans cultivate a deeper sense of devotion and connection to their craft.

Explaining what motivated her to launch this create space, Mihiri said "the world has changed so much in the last twelve months and I think we all find that more and more of our lives are now technologically driven. As much as this change is timely and necessary, there is also a flipside to it; which is that we are truly becoming disconnected with the tactile experience. So many creatives don't get to actually touch, feel, and understand through that tactile learning. I wanted to change that”. She also went on to explain that many people don’t get the experience a part of  Sri Lanka’s beauty which is its living craft heritage. “Not many get that special opportunity to sit with an artisan, get eye-to-eye, talk, and just learn. Space Leap allows you to do that” she added.

Commenting on the relevance of the space to Colombo, Mihiri said “Space Leap couldn't come at a better time. As we see the increasing importance of becoming self-reliant as both individuals and a country, it becomes a good opportunity to learn and practice with experts to find skills that we can apply for commercial and everyday benefit. Space Leap also responds to the growing need to support and revive local maker-practices, arts, and crafts, that would otherwise be forgotten or taken over by plastic imports”

Explaining the future programmes offered by Leap Space Mihiri said “Space Leap will hold monthly workshops, at its modern day ‘maker-space’. “It’s the kind of maker-space you'd find in any cosmopolitan city. I will be bringing in a distinctly Sri Lankan way of learning and sharing to the space through her decades of experience as a teacher. These workshops will also lead up to a Maker’s Market in November where people can not only learn and practice crafts, but also purchase authentic products directly from the artisans”

The workshops will take place at the Sapumal Foundation situated at 32 Barnes Place, Colombo 7.

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Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Features Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at

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