A designer, art director, art lover and dreamer with a passion for artisan skills, Valerie Barkwoski creates a dialogue between cultures, bringing a modern twist to ancient crafts. Based in Marrakech, the Belgian designer nourishes her creative spirit by watching craftsmen at work in the workshops of Morocco and India. The brands she creates are a mix of authenticity, quality and modern design, echoing her will to give back what she’s learned from the world’s cultures. Valerie has gained international recognition for her skill in conveying traditional crafts techniques through daring transpositions: “this is the ultimate reward, because it’s exactly what I stand for”. In tangible form it’s found in unlikely collaborations between companies and craft – such as her five-month project with India’s iconic Ambassador car. Valerie unleashed accomplished craftspeople on the vehicle. Some made life-size paintings of the Amby, others drilled tiny holes and one hand stitched designs in cotton floss. Valerie was born in Brussels and studied Arts and Interior Design in Ghent but she dreamed of far away places. Trusting her intuition, she quit school in 1984 to go backpacking in India for three months. As soon as she set foot in Bombay she embraced the culture shock with delight, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere from Lucknow to Goa, sensing this would be a life changing experience. In 1991, she visited Morocco and was mesmerized by the bustling workshops of the Marrakech medina. As she wandered the maze of the old city, she knew she would live there someday...Article from Selvedge Issue 63.