Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where we were Two Weeks ago

What a difference two weeks can make!! Two weeks ago we were half a world away, moving slowly in almost 100 degree weather and high, high humidity, in order to meet some of Ghana's Kente weavers, and to learn more about how Kente is made. In the first photograph, Eric Boateng sits at his loom in the craft market in Accra. Kente weaving is something done primarily done by men, and traditionally the craft is handed down from father to son. The bright strips you can see behind Eric are examples of Ashanti weaving. The strips are sewn together to make larger pieces of cloth, traditionally worn for important ceremonies. The other weaver we visited is Bob Dennis, who has made it his life work to keep Ewe Kente weaving alive, and who employs 20 other weavers at his workshop. Ewe colours are a bit softer than Ahanti colours, but the method of weaving is the same. See the threads of the warp extended over many metres, then carefully woven into traditional patterns was fascinating. The weavers' hands move so quickly that it's hard to catch the pattern of them. The last photo shows Bob Dennnis adding
up the total for my purchases. I've brought quite a few strips home with me, and am presently working on ways to incorporate them into my quilts. Soon I will be putting some of these up on my website, in case there are others of you out there similarly interested in this aspect of African art. I also brought home a book written by Bob Dennis on the craft of Kente weaving. Here is a man doing much to keep this art form alive. He tells me that he will be at the Smithsonian in the near future, to give demonstrations there. How wonderful! As for Joan and I? We have now been home a week, where we were greeted by SNOW and COLD and ICE. But in the humidity and heat of Accra, I promised Joan that I wouldn't complain if it was cold here. And I won't. I'll just put on another wool sweater and crank up the heat until I've adjusted to life at home a little better.

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