Thursday, February 27, 2014

Senegalese Art Spotlight: Accent Galerie with Mamadou Guèye and Claudia Braunchweig

Mamadou Guèye
Accent Galerie in Toubab Dialaw features the artwork of Mamadou Guèye and Claudia Braunchweig.  The gallery was built by Claudia and Mamadou next to their personal residence.  They were gracious enough to host the Dakar Women's Group Art Committee and even gave us tea in the garden.
Accent Galerie
Mamadou, also known as Madou, is a self taught artist.  His formal training is as a geologist and his work give him access to core samples from which he can gather the pigments.  He paints with pigments mixed with acrylic paint.  The effect is a subtly textured painting that reminds one of cave paintings.  Madou work reflects his professional interest in earth and stone and his intimate knowledge of the African landscape.  Mamadou has exhibited with the Biennale’s OFF exhibit in past years.  (Click here for info on this year's Biennale.)
pigments from a core drill
Claudia once owned a antiques shop in Germany and her experience in home decor is clear when one looks around the gallery.  She has created many art objects strategically placed around the gallery.  Many of her ideas are simple yet elegant. The items are also reasonably priced.  To visit Accent Galerie, call Claudia to schedule an appointment and get directions, (221) 77 653 1264 or (221) 33 836 3531.
Following the gallery visit we had lunch at the Sobo Bade.  Sobo Bade is a hotel with restaurant and embedded with little quirks and objects d' art everywhere you look.  We had a lovely lunch right by the ocean.  All in all it was a wonderful outing and I recommend it if you are looking for a short trip outside Dakar.

the studio
Sobo Bade
Madou's painting with subtle textures
more paintings by Madou
decor by Claudia

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moroccan Print Dress

Here is a dress made from one of my fabrics, Moroccan Tiles in Color on White Petite.  The dress is made with a polyester knit fabric called Performance Knit and is one of Spoonflower's newer fabrics.
My hat is woven from Mali and purchased at a craft market.  My large black heart ring was designed by jewelry designer Wendy Spivey of My African Heart Jewelry.
Photo courtesy Sigrid Swerdlin

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Is it Spring Yet?

This foursome of brightly colored patterns is a selection from my new print collection, African Florals in Spring Pantone Colors.  It is available in a range of fabrics as well as wallpaper, decals and giftwrap.  The patterns are designed with flowers found in Senegal, specifically, the tiny flowers on the Acacia tree and the rare flowers of the Madagascar Palm.  This collection is dedicated to my friends in the United States who keep getting buried under snow.  I hope these colors can brighten your life.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Happy Valentines Day!  I hope your day is filled with love.  These are my small heart pins I made for a heart exchange on Dollstreet Dreamers

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Mini Gallery

Spirit of the Griot
It's been a while since I have posted my ATC's.  Following is a little tour of my recent works.  This is a little painting of a baobab in Pebeo's Moon Effects enamel paint.  The background is color pencil.  The baobab is a remarkable tree in the landscape here in Senegal.  In the countryside it is often the only tree in the dry landscape.  I have titled the card Spirit of the Griot because there was a practice of burying the musician/historians known as griot in the trees.  You can learn more about this practice here

This ATC is a small painting with textile paints on watercolor paper is one of the series of ATCs exploring the work of other artists.  This is a copy of Manet's Asparagus painting.  That painting has a cute story.  Manet painted an additional spear of asparagus to send to art collector Charles Ephrussi after he was over paid for a larger asparagus still life. 
Madame du Barry
This one was designed for an artists choice exchange.  I dipped lace in paint and created a print on two cards.  I cut out a heart and added a paper flower and photo of a Madame du Barry ceramic doll.
Little House
This ATC is to be in the shape of a small house.  Little houses and buildings are a recent trend in the world of ATCs.  This cottage is in oil pastels.

After Don Li-Leger
Another ATC in the series inspired by artists, this one after the work of the artist Don Li-Leger. His painting are of flowers in soft jewel tones and earthy colors. Many of his paintings are also sub-dived into squares and rectangles. He aims for an Asian inspired, meditative mood in his paintings. My ATC is painted with acrylics, enamel, pen and oil pastel.

Cool Garden
Cool Garden by Don Li-Leger

Friday, February 7, 2014

Senegal Art Spotlight: Village des Artes

Kine Aw in her studio
A small group of members from the Dakar Women's Group visited Village des Art in January.  The Village was originally built to house workers for the large soccer stadium and was turned over to the Ministry of Culture.  The Ministry of Culture opened it as a venue for studios and galleries to support working artists in 1998.  It is a cultural center of art in Senegal and is open to all visitors; although it is wise to call ahead and arrive sometime after noon. 
There are at least forty five workshops on site and my video below only covers some that were open on the day of my visit. During our visit we met and were privileged to speak with many of the artists and see their work environment.  Artists like Kine Aw, who shared her thoughts on abstracted figures and Issa Diop who explained the process of creating bronze sculpture using the lost wax process in his outdoor studio.  Many of the artists are also employed outside the village teaching in the schools and universities, exhibiting in Senegal and other countries and as art therapists.

Issa Diop explaining the lost wax process of scupting bronze
 I love the concept of a state supported art village.  It can be very difficult to make a living as an artist even with backing.  Senegal is drenched in art and the existence of this village shows the importance of art to Senegalese culture and identity.

One of the potters in residence

The outside of some workshops reflect the art within


Photos by Penney Hughes, except the photos of Kine Aw in her studio taken by Susan Graf
Music in the video:  Ya Oumana by Noura Mint Seymali used under a Creative Commons license from Live on WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise with Rob Weisberg - Sept 28, 2013 (Noura Mint Seymali) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hands and Feet Keepsake Stuffie

When my boys were little I offered to sew each of them a little stuffie.  I instructed them to draw a simple shape on a piece of paper for the pattern of the body.  We cut it out and then they got to go through my stash for fabric and to the shop and pick out button eyes.  I helped them stuff it and sew up the bottom opening.  Now that my daughter is getting older it seemed about time to allow my daughter the same fun.  Interestingly, all three children have chosen to create a bird. 
When my boys were in preschool they made keepsakes for me tracing their hands.  I still use the Christmas Banner with my oldest boy's hand print every year.  My daughter is not in the kind of school that makes these things so I was inspired to trace her hands and feet to add them to the stuffie template she drew.  Her hands are the wings on this stuffie and her feet make the tail feathers.  I added a little embroidered beak and line around the eyes.
If you want to try a project like this, make sure your child's fingers are splayed out enough to create a small seam allowance, or use felt if you prefer not to sew those fussy fingers.  Toes can be traced with the big toe separate and the rest of the toes just traced along the top.
Now I have a keepsake that I can inherit from my daughter once she grows tired of it.