I spend time each winter in Cape Town sourcing my jewellery range for the shop. During my visit last February I met with representatives of The Keiskamma Trust, a community organisation that has a skilled group of embroiderers. Prior to my trip I had been introduced by a client to Adinkra symbols, from Ghana. I thought they were amazing graphics, and when I saw samples of Keiskamma's embroiderer's work I knew immediately what I wanted to do. Once I was back in France I sent out strips of linen with instructions and templates for my chosen symbols. They embroidered them, sent them back to me, and I then incorporated them into my designs. The results are just beautiful.
Each symbol has a name and meaning. Their origin is unclear but it is thought that they are named after Nana Kofi Adinkra, once a king of an area called Gyaman in the Ivory Coast in the 19th century. Craftsmen are thought to have developed them to decorate cloth.
|The cloth artisan stamping the symbols onto the base cloth|
Asante boys going to a dance in adinkra robes
|The 7 symbols I chose for this summer's collection|
The collaboration has been a huge success. I am thrilled with the results and have made a limited edition collection for the shop. I am already working on ideas for SS15. It particularly brings me joy to be working with these talented craftspeople here in South Africa and having their wonderful work on display within my own designs. I've been invited by the Cape Embroiderer's Guild to give a talk on this project whilst I'm here.
|Names and meanings of the Adinkra symbols|