January 25, 2009
One thing I love to do while travelling is visiting market places. Especially in Africa. I used to live in different African countries. Markets are the places where you meet people, you hear the music of various languages, you see the eating habits, you smell unknown food or wonder at local medicines. It is a place to learn so much about a country and its people ! If you look for something you cannot find in any shop, just go to the market, someone will help you find it. You also learn how to bargain : a must ! Since I have always been interested in fabrics, a visit to the tailor’s shop is a priority. The amount and variety of materials that are sold on market stalls always fascinates me.This is the market place (or Zoma in malagasy language) in Antananarivo, Madagascar, a fabulous place to get lost.
African fabrics, mostly in coton, are extremely colourful and original in their patterns. Many of them have their own designation : “palm, vines, my rival’s eyes, comb, shells, my foot and your foot, the prosperous husband, etc…” and many more very descriptive and sometimes funny names. I immediately fell in love with those bright materials and bought quite a lot of small or larger pieces which I used for quilting. Friends offer me presents of fabrics, tailors are happy to give me the left-overs of what they sewed. I even receive worn clothes that my African friends are happy to share when they get new ones ! Nothing is wasted.A few years ago I sewed this “African Mosaic”, a log cabin pattern (2m20x2m10) with bits and pieces of many materials I had bought or received during several stays or journeys through different countries. These fabrics were made in Madagascar, Kenya, Burundi, Cameroun, Mali, Niger,Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, maybe elsewhere, I don’t know.
It is one of my favourite and precious souvenirs of the people I met, the places I visited, the wonderful moments I spent on this great continent.
Here are some details of my African Mosaic :Each square of this log cabin quilt is 10x10cm and there are about 200 of them. Each one unique.This is the very center of the quilt, golden, bright and warm as the sun that shines in Africa.