I am writing from an empty hotel.
January was not the catastrophy that we had envisaged: there have been plenty of hotel guests in spite of it all. But there is no denying that the reservation sheets are making for depressing reading. So what should be done? I am too far involved in Djenné just to pick up and exit when things go on a downward turn with tourism. We have to survive. But how if there are virtually no tourists any more?
I sold 6 metres of MaliMali’s 1.20 m. width hand woven cotton the other day. It is of course hand dyed and painted in a bold pattern with the local organic dyes called bogolan. At the same time, Ii is not ‘ethnic’ in the slightest. A very elegant Belgian couple bought the fabric which they were planning to have made into blinds for their Brussels apartment.
Is this the way forward? I have not had the time to concentrate on MaliMali’s export. We have only sold things to passing hotel guests. Nevertheless, I remember our little feature in the World of Interiors in 2007, after which we were more of less inundated with requests for fabric – I must have had close to a hundred emails wanting to buy MaliMali fabric… but we did not yet have a studio, we did not weave our own fabric then, we were not at all ready. Now we have two great weaving looms, we have four people working in the studio, we could have many more. We have a website: www.malimali.org (such as it is).
As I lay awake the other night I turned over an idea in embyo: MaliMali should show at an International furnishing fabrics expo….I have begun to cast around for funding – more of this later , inshallah…