In the period from February 4th to 6th in Etno Village “Timchevski” in Kumanovo, training for “Advanced eco-friendly handicraft production and packaging” was held, in which participated 25 artisans, 10 from Kosovo and 15 from the Republic of North Macedonia. After the completion of the three-day training, the following segments regarding the realization and evaluation were summarized:
Program and objectives of the training
The training “Advanced eco-friendly handicraft production and packaging” aims to enrich and expand the existing knowledge, skills and techniques of the handicraftsmen. By studying new techniques, artisans will have the opportunity to use different mixing techniques to improve designs and quality of existing products, but also to create new creative and innovative products, which will significantly increase their competitiveness in the foreign markets.
The training program was designed in accordance with the new trends in the design of jewelry, fashion accessories and creative products, as well as the current trends for making creative packaging using ecological materials.
The main objective of the training is to enable the participants to obtain all the necessary information for mastering the various techniques: working with ecological epoxy resin, polymer clay, wooden elements, textile materials and through practical work to master all the specific techniques and skills necessary for independent work.
Several methods and tools were prepared and implemented for the needs of the training, and in order to achieve maximum results, in addition to the oral presentation:
Power Point presentation with textual content, photos, info graphics, video content – a simple guide to the topics covered by the training.
Practical demonstration of techniques – enables direct familiarization with techniques, practical work and application.
Individual practical work – enables testing, practice and improvement of the technique.
Flipchart and poster presentations – which help to visually display and emphasize visibility of set situations and expected results.
Interactive sessions – where all participants have the opportunity to share personal experiences, problems and needs, share knowledge and experiences, and create common solutions.
Work in groups – as an effective method for mutual familiarization between the participants, networking, teamwork, generating common ideas, suggestions, and visual solutions.
On the first day of the training, the participants had the opportunity to familiarize with a new technique and new material, eco-friendly epoxy resin, and to create a product using this material, going through all stages of preparation – from idea to final product.
Eco-friendly epoxy resin is a relatively new material, which in recent times is widely used in the field of creative industries, applied art, interior and exterior design, because it provides wide opportunities for creative and artistic expression.
The way of using the eco-friendly epoxy resin as well as the wide possibilities for its use was presented, respectively how is this material used and how to achieve the ideal ratio of the two-component liquid, the way it is mixed and the way to obtain a mixture that is favorable for use.
Participants learned the ways they can use the eco-friendly epoxy resin as a basic and unique material, spilling it into special silicone molds, how can they tone the resin by using colors and to achieve certain coloring of the material and how can experiment and achieve originality in design expression using a multi-color mix.
In the training, was practically demonstrated the use of the eco-friendly epoxy resin in combination with other materials also, the way various types of elements and objects can be inserted in the resin, which provides possibility to achieve a more pronounced effect and to increase the attractiveness of the product.
In the training the manner of inserting various elements such as: wood, dry flowers, metal objects, paper, textiles etc., was demonstrated, and then the craftsmen themselves had the opportunity to independently test and practically apply this process and prepare a product with a combination of different materials.
The participants learned the basic features of the material, mastered the technique and had the opportunity to individually and independently create and produce creative objects made of ecological epoxy resin.
In the training the method of processing the epoxy resin after its drying were presented also, respectively the final techniques, as the last step in the process of creating a new final product, were demonstrated.
The participants learned how to process products made from an eco-friendly epoxy resin by using polishing paper and hand-held electric grinder to achieve an ideal smooth surface of the final product.
In addition, the artisans were introduced with the various types of metal mechanisms, which can be used to connect the elements made from an eco-friendly epoxy resin, the way to connect them, the type of to be used to attach the mechanisms and the way it is applied.
Adopted topics and techniques:
Epoxy resin features (hardness, resistance to external and mechanical impacts), epoxy resin application (construction, interior decoration, applied arts), method of using epoxy resin (achieving ideal ratio and mixing), spillage in the mold, insertion of elements (metal, plastic, textile, dry flowers, paper), final techniques for preparation of the finished product, drying and polishing of the epoxy resin, types of mechanisms and their application.
The second day of the training was dedicated to introducing new material, polymer clay and adoption of techniques for processing polymer clay and preparation of creative products from this material.
The participants in the training were introduced with types of polymer clay (soft and standard), their specific properties and the wide possibilities for application of this material in the production of different types of creative products: decorative products, fashion accessories, jewelry, etc.
The techniques and the use of tools for modeling the clay, its shaping and possibilities for creating different shapes were practically demonstrated.
After the adoption of the technique, the participants had the opportunity to independently produce various clay objects, using both types of clay, as well as colored clay that additionally enhance the possibility of artistic and creative expression.
The artisans could, during the training, see the process of baking the clay, until its maximum hardening and achieving maximum hardness as one of the best qualities and advantages of using this material.
After baking the clay, artisans were introduced to the finishing techniques in clay processing and finishing the ready product using special tools for polishing the products.
The participants had the opportunity to also introduce and to practically apply the combination of polymer clay with other materials such as ecological epoxy resin, wooden elements, textile and wax materials, etc.
One of the topics on the second day of the training was the use of wood and wooden elements in the creation of creative products. The manner of staining wooden elements with the use of acrylic paints, protection and lacquering of wood and finishing a product made of wooden elements was demonstrated. Each of the artisans independently created a product of wooden elements by applying all the techniques they learned.
Adopted topics and techniques:
Types of polymer clay (soft and standard), modeling of polymer clay, application and use of modeling and clay molding tools, clay baking, polishing and application of finishing techniques for the treatment of polymeric clay, use of polymeric clay in combination with other materials, use of wooden elements in the production of creative products, dyeing and lackering of wooden elements, types of mechanisms and their application.
On the third day of the training the possibility of making creative products using cotton textile materials in a simple way without the use of a sewing machine that requires special knowledge and skills, was demonstrated to the participants.
The participants had the opportunity to learn how to use textile materials as basic material in making creative products, but also how to use them as an additional material or in combination of other materials.
Creative packaging incorporates innovative designs and solutions, which not only help products to stand out above others, increase product growth and success, but also provide more sustainable and cost-effective solutions over the lifespan of the package – from a warehouse and storage shelves to the hands of customers. Creative packaging solutions can have a positive effect on the marketing campaign of the product and business, and can also reduce the cost of transportation and storage with creative and sustainable designs.
Packaging as an integral part of the product greatly affects the attractiveness of the product. The participants got a set of environmentally friendly materials and independently created and produced creative packaging for their own products
Adopted topics and techniques:
Method of using cotton textile materials, combining textile materials with other materials and creating original creative products, the way of making environmentally creative packaging, the style and practical use of the packaging, the packaging as an integral part of the product, the impact of the packaging on the attractiveness of product and increasing the sales.
Evaluation of the achieved results
The main goal of the training is satisfied given that the participants learned to apply the presented techniques and new materials. Each participant received a rich set of tools, materials for the production of products and packaging, mechanisms and elements that, after the completion of the training, will enable further improvement of the techniques learned and application of the materials in creating new products or enriching the existing products and techniques they already know and apply.