Search This Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A New Appreciation

Yesterday I attended a monthly coffee with the other expat wives ( and a few husbands whose wives are working over here). It is a nice to meet some diferent people who don't necessarily live on the same compound as my family. The lady hosting the coffee also had some local artists at her house to sell some of their work. There was Larry, the wood carver; Baio, the artist; and Dupai, the fabric maker. Since I have come to Nigeria, I have learned that there are so many artists here. There are so many artists over here who paint and carve wood beautifully. Their work really captures the images I have seen in only a short time here in Lagos. The fabrics, on the other hand, I thought were pretty, but I really was not that interested in them. Afterall, I could just go to a fabric store in U.S. and buy some fabric there. So, we all had time to browse at all the things the artists brought to the house. Then, Dupai and her husband, Baio, did a demonstration of how they make different fabrics. I was not really sure how interested I would be to see how the fabrics were made. I have to say, I was truly amazed. Dupai showed us the fabric she starts with, which I believe she makes herself. But, the dying process was really interesting. To make the different tie dye designs in her fabric, she makes the dye from various fruits and vegetables. ( you can't just go to Michael's over here). The colors are so pretty, too. She showed us how she ties string and rubber bands around equally spaced parts if the fabric. She continues to do this for an entire 5 yards!!! She soaks and dyes the fabric. She showed us her tie dyed fabric and it is so beautiful. Then, she went on to show us how she makes Batik fabric. Batik , to me, is the typical fabric I think of when I think of Africa. She showed us that she makes designs on the fabric with melted wax and a sponge. Then, she will dye the fabric many colors. She may have to dye some parts orange, red, etc. Then , she has to remove all the wax from the fabric after she dyes it. The whole process for her to complete 5 yards of fabric is about three days. I'll tell you she must have brought about 150-200 different fabrics with her yesterday to show all of us. I was just thinking of all the days work she spent on making the fabrics. There are no machines to do the work for her. I think it was a coincidence because I needed to find some fabric to make some Nigerian clothes for Nigerian Day at Jeremy's school. The whole family needs to be dressed in traditional Nigerian clothes. As I was riding home in the car after I bought the fabric from Dupai ( which she sells for the eqivalent of about 20 U.S. dollars for five yards of her fabric... I couldn't believe how cheap it was!!), I was watching all the different people who were walking on the side of the road. Some were selling bread and some people were selling things in the traffic. I looked out the window and saw a woman in traditional Nigerian dress made out of a beautiful fabric. I looked down at the fabric I bought and really saw how beautiful it was. It is beautiful fabric to look at ,but I also now can see the beauty of the work that goes into making this fabric.

No comments:

Post a Comment