Conversations with hands, by Adélia Borges
It is on the latter facet that I want to focus on in this text, touching on the reinterpretation of Sergio’s drawings by stylist André Namitala. Both were born in Rio de Janeiro, 65 years apart – Sergio in 1927, and André in 1992. Sergio became active in the 1950s. Going against the grain of an elite that sought European pieces for references, he created furniture, objects, and environments in tune with his time and his place – a Brazil that believed in the new, a Rio de Janeiro revolutionized customs as relationships.
Sergio’s drawings reveal the thoughts behind the furniture, his vision of the future embedded in them – a conception of tropical living, pleased with life, comfortable, free, Brazilian. There is no doubt that he wasn’t copying anything or anyone. Informal, good-humored, and vibrant with life, his works bring forth the human being not only for scale reference, but they make it clear that well-being and friendly coexistence among people were the designer’s ultimate objective. The drawings also show how he takes interior design out of the scope of dilettantes interested in lending alleged social status to their clients in order to understand it within the domain of culture.
The archives of the Sergio Rodrigues Institute hold countless of these treasures, and it was from there that André Namitala pinched some previously unseen drawings of environments and constructive details of the Cuiabá furniture line to take them to the realm of clothes. On the fabrics (shantung, silk, linen) are embroideries in stitching styles such as Richelieu, running stitches, backstitching, buttonholes, houndstooth, behind, full, stem, French knot, etc...
delightful names that indicate the diversity of this craft, which also includes, in some details, machine embroidery. Beads enter to simulate the wood grain. Small acrylic squares with wooden frames represent mirrors. The thick lace with a hollow guipir base stands in for the straw weaves of the furniture. Printing, fabric applications, insertions of pieces of leather and small metal rods come together in a symphony of textures.
It is not a mere transposition from one support to another, as André gathers, groups, merges and reworks scattered drawings. In the same way that Sergio mixed materials, he mixes techniques. It is a (re)creation that overflows the master´s original idea and tunes it with current times, in which there is a unique appreciation of that which is handmade.
Instead of retreating, as foreseen in the 20 th century, craftwork has been expanding in contemporary times. “In this recent process, there is a resignification of activity, which – in an increasingly uniform, standardized and virtual world – alludes to values such as human warmth, uniqueness and belonging”  . A reflection in this regard has been made by the Making Futures academic conference, held since 2009 by the Plymouth College of Art, in England, which investigates craftwork, the make movement and art as potential agents of change in the 21 st century society, highlighting the emergence of an aesthetic of production and consumption based on movements of small craftspeople.
Although this emergence is global, it acquires greater social and economic relevance in developing countries, where collectives of women are disseminated wherein craftwork is the main source of subsistence, where these women may practice their craft with dignity, without having to leave their places of origin to thicken the legion of underemployed people in the big cities. And it is precisely toward some of these groups of women spread across Brazil that Handred turns, in a collaboration network where each person’s textile experiences is required and valued.
French art historian and philosopher Henri Focillon has a precious text in which he discusses hands as “instruments of creation” as well as “organs of knowledge”. “The hand takes touch away from receptive passivity, organizes it for experience and action. It teaches man to possess space, weight, density, number. Creating an unprecedented universe, it leaves its mark everywhere. It is measured with the matter that it metamorphoses, with the form that it transfigures. Educator of man, the hand multiplies him in space and time”, he says. 
In this work that Handred will now deliver into our hands, I see something that challenges space and time, while anchoring itself to them. André Namitala takes Sergio Rodrigues’ drawings to other beaches, supports, appreciations and uses. And he does so along with dozens of women who possess technical excellence, pleasure in doing things well and practicing, daily, the gestures that make reconnections with their (and our) ancestries possible. A beautiful conversation, therefore, between different hands, hearts and minds.
 BORGES, Adélia. Design + Artesanato: o caminho brasileiro. São Paulo: Editora Terceiro
 FOCILLON, Henri. “Elogio da mão”. In Revista Serrote. Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo.
Issue 6, November 2010.