It’s taken me a while to write this story. Most of you on my blog, are quilters or love the art of Textiles. We have a textile advantage that we take for granted so today I share a story of art and experimental reinvention. Dena Crain a quilter from Kenya, taught the local ladies a technique called “Siddi” quilting. “What on earth is Siddi Quilting” you say? Basically its a style of quilt known as a Kawandi and it is made by the generations of Siddi people taken to India some 400 years ago as indentured workers… possibly slaves. Based on DNA information it would appear that about 50% of the Indian Siddi population are descendants of Bantus from East Africa, while many others are descendants of Ethiopians. Although the Siddis have adopted many Indian characteristics, there are still some cultural elements that are regarded as their own and of African origin. These include the making and use of patchwork quilts known locally as kawandi. These are made by women and used as covers, mattresses and …
It’s the beauty, the detail, the patterns and the history we all need to see.
I’ve had a busy few days and I’ve finished two quilts this week. “Edna” the Elephant. The idea of the elephant was on a poster on a wall in India. I can’t find the picture, it was just in my mind somehow. I began with fabric from India, the green fabric and the orange is Cotton Rubia fabric. Of course the Taj Mahal is real and drawn with pigment ink on the rubia before it was sandwiched. This is one of my own photos. Th ink worked well on the Rubia fabric. Kaffe Fassett fabric worked well for the blanket. I colored the orange with white ink and the tusks are white fabric that I have illustrated. The ink is pigment and permanent. In beginning to quilt it, I first stitched around the pattern on the blanket in black thread. then the elephant was quilted the same way. I freehand drew a continuum of the pattern of the blanket onto the body of the elephant, it reminds me of the henna patterns we all have …
Plant creative seeds to capture tomorrow. from Iampamholland on Vimeo.
Down cobblestone streets full of color and noise. The temperature is in the high 70’s and the air is clean. The streets are full of people, I’m sad to see so many children working on the street selling things. My Pollyanna persona hopes that they go to school later or earlier in the day. Many women still wear traditional dress, and the color combination is astounding. I learn so much about color from just observing. There is often music in the air and the smell of coffee emanating from the little boutique shops is tantalizing. That said I’m not diminishing the fact that the wages are very low here and for many people life is hard. I hope you don’t mind my perspective of what I see. Just walking, fountains and feathers. The beautiful Chicken buses. The local market. Huipils. A huge warehouse full of surprises. I visit it every day to see what new goodies have arrived from the countryside. And then there are the churches.
I finished another UFO today.
Well, I guess they are not UFO’s (un-finished objects) unless you leave hem that way.
I just decided to document the day as I was deciding the best way to make this new project.
Thrift store shopping is a must for a textile artist. I find the most amazing treasures there.
We were welcomed into their house. The entire family assembled to meet us. Father and two of the sons showed us the weaving, but I sort of lost something in the translation. I don’t think the Father is doing it any more because of his poor eyesight.
We were ushered into the main room of the house which was painted bright yellow. Around the 4 walls as sumptuous seating.
I’m 69 and I’ve made a concerted effort over the past few years to ‘observe’. I sort of feel that I probably have another 10-15 years left to really ‘see’ and I sure don’t want to miss anything. That doesn’t seem long enough for me but it’s reality.