It started with a tattoo. A line drawn on the torso signified power or totem or clan. Bodies were the first canvas upon which one might make an artful mark, claim an identity. Only later, much later, did clothing take over that job - textiles are often the extension of tattoos, a literal second skin, carrying forward the same symbolic patterns while also offering warmth and modesty.
First I noticed the silver amulets around the necks of friends, then the chunky rings, unusual earrings. When I raved, they sent me again and again to the same source: Jewels.
What’s the difference between a coaster and a cocktail napkin? Not something Cesi thinks about a lot - until ibu commissions hundreds of handwoven cocktail napkins (what do they use these things for???) When I first met Cesi last December, she had traveled many miles through the mountains to present me with piles of her work, already completed.
I leaned out of an open lorry and saw long stretches of cinnamon colored paths winding over the lush mountainside. Dotting the path were brightly colored sarongs swaying on women’s hips, the companion piece of cloth wrapped around their heads, or tied over a shoulder, or billowing like a curtain against the hot African sun.