Monday, May 26, 2008

Mother of all fabric dumpster dives !!!

The office park where my brother works is probably the world's best dumpster diving location, and the dumpster is about 5 steps away from the back door of the office. Over the years, he has salvaged office panels, file cabinets, phone systems, tools, chairs, carpet, Pergo flooring, computers, bookcases, and just this week-this box of tons 'o fabric !!! There is heavy duty Ultrasuede and canvas, plus silks, cotton, and cotton and rayon velvets. And it couldn't have come at a better time, I'm embarking on a mad scramble to make lots of recon purses and stuff for the Ballston Art Market .

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ghanaian "Enstoolment" Ceremony

Here is another installment of my cultural adventures living in Washington, DC. This story starts back a few years with the meeting of our friend, Nana Frimpong, the world class drummer and musician from Ghana. Fast forward to last night, and his invitation to us to join him at the "enstoolment" or enthroning of a Ghanian queen mother, Nana Gyamfuaa Pokuaa II at an event in Silver Spring. MD. Not knowing what this entailed but quite intrigued, we heartily agreed to see what it was all about. Knowing that Ghanian time runs on a different clock than DC time, we planned on being out very late.

The three of us arrived at approx. 12:30 pm at the high school gym which was decked out like prom night. The room was filled with round tables festively decorated. Lovely Ghanaian ladies wearing their finest handwoven fashions with towering head wraps and elegant gentlemen were sitting patiently. Some of them were nodding off. Men were scurrying around wearing miles of gorgeous kente cloth textiles wrapped around the body and over one shoulder like togas. They were constantly hoisting the fabric up. It didn't seem logical to have to carry all that fabric around, and it looked like they were trying to carry a whole roomful of heavy draperies. I guess the reason is to show the status of the wearer.

We kept debating about leaving since it was already so late and there seemed to be no time table. Finally, large numbers of people appeared dressed in more finery and a small group of musicians started drumming. The MC announced the queen's arrival. All the guests stood up like the arrival of the bride at a wedding. A long line of men in their colorful togas, two female dancers in bare feet wearing gold fabric and a line of women with colorful skirts and white eyelet cloth draped over their bare shoulders made their way into the gym. The women clustered into a tight group and inched their way around the open area at the front as the drummers' rhythms got faster and faster. The queen found her place on the "stool of authority" and the women sat closely around her. As things settled down, we checked our watches and it was close to 1:30 am. Time to slip out. I don't know what I missed but I was thrilled to get a glimpse of a very important event for a wonderful, friendly, community of people I am privileged to have met. Not to mention all the fabulous handwoven cloth all around me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Artomatic Featuring BATALA !

DC's biggest art event is happening right now. It's called "Artomatic" and it's 28 days of wall to wall art in one building. Since it's a non-juried show, you will find all types of artistic endeavors, so be prepared for the unexpected. I haven't visited yet, but I plan to head right for my favorite mask-maker, Anthony Delfin to see his latest creations.
And...this just in...BATALA Washington (that's my all-women samba-reggae percussion band) will be performing on Friday, June 6 at 9:00 pm.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Summer Art Market

Fellow Artists' Undertaking Gallery member, Alice Webb and I are scheduled to participate in the Ballston Art Market this summer. It is held every second Saturday of the month starting in May. Our first market will be in June. At the market, Alice will be showing her whimsical handcrafted fiber sculptures and I will have my handbags and wearables made from recycled vintage clothing and textiles on display.