“Man has always examined nature; his knowledge of basket weaving must have derived from observing birds construct their nests and therefore nature itself can be considered as Man’s mentor. All plants are suitable for weaving and most commonly willow is applied. Organic wearable materials exist throughout the world, with specialties defined by local soil and climate.“
– excerpt from Handbook for Weaving, Natural Crafts Institute, 2002
Thousands of years of documentation testify that braiding is a more ancient skill than pottery. In Hungary, people living around flood and swamplands have been interested in basket weaving for a long time. Alongside willow, Hungarian native plants are also used, such as rushes, common cattail, maize, rye-straw, wheat-straw, skinned hazelnut and black willow.
In 2009, I visited the workshop of a rural Roma master of basket weaving, József Kakas. In Kisbajom, a village located south of Lake Balaton, I discovered the materials of sallow and willow branches that had been cooked and collected in bundles. Once I touched them, I realised how unusual and supple they were in comparison to the materials used in sculpture and industrial production. I discovered how easy it was to conceive sturdy surfaces and strong objects from this otherwise light-weight material, and how objects braided from wicker were surprisingly economic in their material requirements, in comparison to other materials deriving from wood, an increasingly costly resource.
Given our daily use of computers and cameras, I began to explore how to conceive agile and environmentally friendly cases for their protection from wicker and other natural fibres. In the long term, they could also be incorporated into the hardware of electronic goods, but of course, this is a process requiring extensive research to invent new ways to compress and process new forms.
- Exclamation mark – “It’s just an exclamation mark with no sentence. The exclamation is the voice of victims, of the downtrodden; it is the voice of pain, of ultimate despair. It is the voice of those excluded undeservedly. The universal sign articulates these unarticulated voices. Gypsies have always been excluded from Hungarian society and still are. But you shouldn’t think I’m a teeth-gritting civil rights activist. I like making ornate, abstract objects. This is going to be one of them. And around it there’ll be an island of woven statues…” from Róza El-Hassan talks with Imre D. Magyari in Art on Lake edition
- Common things – with: Monochrome Clack (Éva Köves, Andrea Sztojánovits), Attila Nemes – “The Project examines the significance of synergies originating from community, cooperation and open systems.  In its construction the work models collaborative networks and artistic processes behind the successes of the global creative industry with the help of a local community organized by the artists.
The collaborative model assists the artists in reinterpreting the notions of economic cooperation / national cooperation / the work of art, and contrasting it with the isolating speech patterns and practices of political discourse and social common talk. The members of the team are artists resident in Hungary, basket weavers, engineers and designers belonging to different ethnic groups. The possibility for interpenetration between a technology driven world and the handicrafts industry is a pressing issue for the group, as it is clear that the way we relate to industry and capitalist development is decisive when social cohesion and global economic success are at stake. 
The evolution and success of the creative industry proves that economic strength and success are found where the number of synergies capable of bringing about “new products” is high. Compared with classical models of production, these are non-operational collaborations that build products from the knowledge they share.
Products of such collaborations may be environmentally friendly objects, architectural structures or experimental elements that unite the regions of Hungary and their people’s traditions in a natural way, with no pointless differentiation between high-tech, research science or constructivist tradition, an ancient weaving technique inherited by the Romungro of Szendrőlád, the straw mats of Tápé or bundled cables in a media lab.
Our work, in short, interprets the artistic process from a socioeconomic perspective, with artists becoming “industrial managers.”
The installation combines three elements (weaving, painting, projection – see the illustration attached) which together overlap, and enmesh the structure of the pavilion. A spatial illusion built from the structural model of a beehive painted on the wall and the floor initializes a web of basket-woven nests that weaves through the exhibition space. The traditional materials used to weave baskets mix with conductors, sensors and light conductors (leds, optical cables, etc.) so the structure can be programmed.
The network of woven nests (the larger ones allowing for visitors to lie in them) is also a screen for the projection, which is placed in the darker unit (on the left) of the space.”
mobile market-seller’s baskets made of wicker – a collaborative project of Wapke Feeenstra, myvillages.org , Rami Al Dihni designer, Zoltán Rácz design, Zsolt Rácz , Andrea Rézműves and Roza El-Hassan
locations: development and production Szendrőlád, presentation: Berlin, Festival Überlebenskunst.
Since July of last year, the artists from myvillages.org have been filling up their “Vorratskammer” (larder) with food from Berlin and its surroundings and collecting stories and history that go along with this food. And now, it is all being served up for the Festival – from a breakfast buffet to spontaneous picnics at the HKW in the basket made by No Corruption brand.
Bauchlaeden made for artist initiative My Villages.org / Szendőlád- Berlin Haus der Kultuen der Welt 2011
video by Salam Haddad
- Happening with bicycle and baskets during the opening of Art on Lake Budapest 2011, May 23
- Soul- lamp – Zsolt Rácz designs and created a lamp in form of a soul- ship
- The Screw
design Roza El-Hassan and Zsolt and Andrea Rácz, realization Zsolt Rácz / wood , wicker, copper, appr 120 cm high
- Wicker- structure Roza El-Hassan, 2010appr, 70 x 50 cm
block 1 : sketches for exclamation mark 2010,
block 2: sketches for Common Things project ith Andrea Stojanovits and Éva Köves, 2011
block 3: sketches for laptopbags and camerabag, 2009