Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Burkina: The artisans

The main reason I went to Burkina Faso was to work with my artisan partners from Mali.  Because of the instability in Mali I haven't felt comfortable to go there to work on new products and tweak existing products.  Attending SIAO was my tie-dye cooperative, mud cloth workshop, sewing/exporter, and Aissata, my beautiful crochet artist (top image).  Being from Bamako, they speak mostly Bambara and French.  I speak Spanish so obviously there is quite a language barrier.  Fortunately I had a translator and was able to get a lot of product development work done.  Languages aside it's amazing how you can sit with someone and not really say anything but leave with  your heart feeling full.  I love this. 

 I took a side trip to the artisan village of Ouagadougou and having had my mind blown by textiles for the entire week, I really appreciated these metal sculptures created out of recycled moto parts.  So clever.

 We visited a beautiful gallery in town where the artist recycles oil barrels and turns them into very modern furniture and home accessories.  Creativity blossoms out of necessity.
 Ladies turning calabash shells into stunning light fixtures.

I had to throw in the elusive Tuareg. I haven't had too many dealings with these mysterious, nomadic folk as they deal mostly in silver jewelry, and wild leather work but I'm extremely intrigued and love the way they float around in their long, flowing, blue tunics. 

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