Friday, April 13, 2012

Well, on the surface at least….


Blogger Susan Scheid said...

I am writing on this of your series of posts because I thought the design so beautiful. I have started to go from the beginning of your posts to see the beginning of the story. There I found this, from April 4, 2006:

I am aware I have to get going on my projects- and what exactly are they? Well, it is slowly becoming clearer- or is it? I really don't think I want to start a hotel. Entertaining rich toubabs seems such a silly, irrelevant thing to be doing- there is nothing for people to do here- surely tourism is not the only answer? I want to check out the textile possibilities and learn the ancient mud dyeing and printing technique which is practised all over Mali. Perhaps I could start a bed-linen project? I am on the look-out for wide enough plain cotton, which will most probably be imported, since the cotton produced and woven here is too rustic for a demanding European market. It is good for cushions, even curtains and some clothing and has a handmade artisan charm. In the case of bed-linen however, the texture needs to be smoother. But I am keen to try and utilise the bold African patterns and beautiful colours which will print on any cotton.

And this, then, reminds me of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where we saw an exhibit called “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End.” I have pulled out the book from the exhibit to see what might have come from Mali—there are several, and all so beautiful. Just as you said in 2006, “surely tourism is not the only answer.” May you have good luck, and stay safe.

1:51 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

thank you Susan, for your enthusiasm and encouragement.
The hotel business is something I enjoy a lot, and we have had plenty of success, Alhamdilullah, as they say here. but now is the time to exploit, finally, the other possibility- the textiles and clothing. We will do it in a contemporary, modern way. I want the products to be seen not first and foremost as 'African' but just hopefully as good products in their own right. But if it works it would be good for Djenne, we need some work opportunities there! Let's see...

11:09 AM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

I have been thinking how much my sister would like what I see in your photographs (I am myself terribly unstylish), so I will be keeping my eye out for something to give to her. When I first learned of you, it was of your beautiful mud hotel. I can well imagine how magical it would be to visit there, and may the time come again when this is possible. You seem to me a force of nature precious and rare, and I do not say that lightly. In going back to earlier entries to understand how you came to be in Mali, I was even more struck by this than had been already the case. Should you ever write a memoir of your experiences, I would snap it up and hand it out to friends.

1:03 AM  
Blogger David said...

Seconded. That's a great photo. Will our very own Swedish model be including herself in the catalogue shots? She wears Djenne Djenno fabrics so well...


6:18 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

yet again thank you for such kind and encouraging words! I hope one day to write a memoir, perhaps, but when I have nothing else to do! There was an American a couple of years ago who wanted to try to help me to edit and publish this journal. I said I hadn't finished it yet. I may be in the middle, or close to the end, or even still at the beginning of the story- who knows?
David, not sure... but let's see in London,you can help choose the outfits!

9:37 PM  

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