Thursday, November 29, 2012


Goree Island scene 'floating' on glass with reclaimed wood frame
Souwere artist Abdoulaye Barry
 “Souwere” is glass painting.  There is an explaination of the process on the Senegal Soul blog.  I went to Goree island as a committee member of the Dakar Women's Group annual art show and visited with Abdoulaye Barry, a Senegalese Souwere artist who has been working in the genere since his youth.  M. Barry took us to a hotel/restaurant hosting his works and then took us to his small studio where he showed us works in progress and discussed the process of reverse glass painting. His art is distinctive for his landscapes of Goree island and his use of beach wood and reclaimed wood for his unusual and beautiful distressed wood frames. 
M Barry's work at the hotel  

Works in progress and our explaination of reverse glass painting at his studio

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Shoes

My daughter is out growing her clothes at the usual furious pace of young children.  Believe it or not I squirrelled away some of the clothes my boys had.  (OK, actually I squirreled away just about all of them but I gave most away when we found out we were having a girl.)  So now that my girl needs some new sneakers out pop her older brother's new pair.  Ta-tah.  The only problem is she is a VERY girly girl.  My daughter had a lot of suggestions "These shoes need pink and purple, and some yellow too. And some flowers. And some glitter."  At that list I said "Stop, I can only do so much." So, after a little Pebeo Setacolor fabric paint in metallic pinks and purple and some Jaquard Neopaque yellow paint with a glaze of transparent Tulip glitter demensional fabric paint, as they say here, Voila! I hope she doesn't expect this every time. 

Here are my before and after pictures. Unfortunately, the glitter doesn't show up well in the photo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Argyle Rose Patterned Designs

Whenever my life is in transition my brain is working overtime.  I think it is a product of new stimulation and lack of regular schedule.  I filled pages of my sketchbook with ideas upon my arrival to Senegal and I am just now getting around to make some of those ideas a reality.  Below the photos are links to my newest design, Rose Argyle in three colorways.  I am awaiting the proofs back from Spoonflower.  If they look good this design will be available as fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Senegal Reflections

Senegal is a feast for the senses in every way.  Living in downtown Dakar was definitely overwhelming but also very interesting and exciting.  We stayed in downtown August and September until we moved to a house in a quieter suburb.   The weather this time of the year is sweltering with humidity in the 80 – 90%.   On weekdays the streets begin to get crowded around 11 am and by noon the traffic is bumper to bumper.  There are small street vendors and beggars lined up on the sidewalks on every street.  It is loud with the sounds of the people speaking French, Wolof and Arabic, vendors hawking their wares and trying to gain attention and vehicles honking and slowly making their way through traffic. We could even hear the noise from our apartment on the 6th floor.  There are strong smells of diesel, trash, food, and people.
 Traditional Senegalese food is strongly flavored with peanuts, fish, peppers and onion flavors.  So far I have only tasted a chicken and onion dish called Yassa Poulet.  It was good.  When we get a car, I hope to be able to sample other selections.  Fast food dishes popular in America are popular here as well.  Almost every cafĂ© and tea house sell hamburgers and the Senegalese version of pizza.  Schwarma, a pulled meat wrap/pita with a kind of curry like sauce, are also a popular cafe food item.  A surprise to me was the number of bakeries selling fancy pastries, quiches, ice cream and chocolate.  The ice cream and quiches are as good as in any artisanal bakery in the US.  
One thing that really captivated me is the Senegalese fashion sense.  It is diverse and they wear Western style, traditional African and Arabic clothing.  Some women cover their hair, some do not.  It appears to be up to the individual.  Here are some photos from local fashion magazines.  As you can see, Senegalese love color and embroidery and the top row of pictures are of fancy dress.    The men in the top row are wearing 'boubous.'  Brightly colored wax prints are popular for daily wear as seen in the bottom row on the left and right. The women’s outfits are known as a 'complet.' Tradional clothing for casual wear by women could be western or a 'pagne' which is a sarong style skirt of fabric (usually the wax block print) with a western style shirt, such as a t-shirt.  Senegalese also have a sense of humor in thier dress; yesterday I saw a woman in the market with a dress with garden sprinklers printed on it.