A trip to Greece

Eine Reise nach Griechenland
It's been half a year since I received a message on Instagram. By Areti. She comes from the north of Greece and is in charge of a social project. And whether I'm interested in buying their products.

The “no” was already on the tip of my tongue because I had long ago considered the idea of ​​having my small team manufacture the Lumikello products somewhere other than here in Germany; with the result that I decided against it every time. Above all, I had great respect for the journey, the time required and the logistics. Another important aspect was that I was afraid of losing the spirit of Lumikello. Our colors, our style, our individuality.

new ideas for Lumikello

But something told me that maybe I should take a closer look. Also because the project Areti described to me seemed to be a good fit for Lumikello. The women who work for them come from the predominantly Muslim mountain villages. The men mostly work abroad. Every euro that can be earned is just as welcome as employment.

So I had a package sent to me with samples of her work, which confirmed my first impression: it couldn't be done better in terms of craftsmanship; We would have to work on the design and colors.

At the beginning of this year - three weeks ago - I booked a flight to Thessaloniki. Because one thing was clear: if I were to have production done in Greece, I would only do so if I looked at the people, the working conditions and the materials on site.

Handicrafts everywhere

Now I'm here. With a concept in your pocket. Here, too, we only work with leftover materials and yarns that no one needs anymore. The yarn is a waste product from the local T-shirt factory, which is delivered to the women in unsorted bags. Here too, the colors are limited again. If no yellow is produced, there is no yellow (unfortunately there is very little yellow ;-)). You work with what is available. The challenge here is to develop suitable products that are distinctively Lumikello but can be implemented with the existing ones.

After the first day it was clear that my decision was the right one. We worked and designed together, chose colors and laughed a lot. It was great that we crocheters understood each other even without really understanding each other linguistically. So funny: I spoke English, she spoke Greek and we knew exactly what the other meant. This is not at all self-evident. They are so skilled that they take up my ideas and find solutions. This collaborative work - the development of the new products here on site gave me an incredible amount of joy. It was a very creative process that has only just begun here.

Day two began for me in the basement of the workshop. Viewing colors, sorting, putting them together, developing ideas. I swear to you - this was hard work, both physically and intellectually. Hauling bags, unpacking, looking for colors, sorting. And actually frustrating because, as already mentioned, the colors are very limited. I still hope that I have found the most beautiful combinations for you.

Leftover materials are sorted here by me

And of course I said yes when the women invited me to their village. Into another world. 30 minutes of hairpin bends up the mountain. I was expecting to go to a sleepy little village and got out at the call of the muezzin in a lively, cheerful town of 4,000 souls - Kendavros. I met incredibly hospitable people who touched my heart.

Finally, I didn't miss the opportunity to finally take a look at the factory where our yarn is made and that's when I really saw that there are actually leftovers sitting on a huge mountain waiting to be processed. At MAITEX SA the yarns are dyed. High quality fabrics processed for well-known companies. However, Lefteris, the production manager, told us that Greek textile processors are suffering greatly from global competition. Many companies are migrating to India and Bangladesh.

I found this journey, the insights, and getting to know these people and working with them to be a great gift - whatever comes of it. Because the future of this project obviously depends on whether you love and buy our new products.

So I'm happy to report that there will soon be new products from Greek hands with a clear Lumikello design. Carpets made from leftover fabrics and bags of leftover yarn. Individually crocheted as usual, with a lot of love and always limited. We will develop this great project together and now get started. Production in Germany will continue. We still crochet bags and pillows for you on site. The first new products will be available in Cologne at our pop-up store on February 24th .

Thanks to Areti, Bediha, Bedita, Fatme, Bengul, Meriem, Hilmie, Murfide and Gulsen.

By the way, I have material to report on for three blog posts from this geographically, culturally and politically special region. About delicious food, street dogs, water from Mecca and a hundred other stories worth telling. Sometime.

I worked with the women on new products for Lumikello