I am going to Kenya for a month to work with the local women on rug hooking. This is my fourth year in the village and my third year working with the women. I have a suitcase crammed with woollen worms and dyed pantihose and a few pieces of backing but hope to buy a bolt of backing in Nairobi as well as more clothing and jersey which can be cut in strips. If the project is going to be self-sustaining, it will be important to source the materials there.
I’ve been doing a little hooking in preparation. Some of the women became very proficient last year, and will be ready to go on to their own projects and designs. Others will be joining the group for the first time and will work through the practice pieces. Both both groups will produce small pieces which we will hope to sell.
Kenya is also a wonderful place for sketching and I intend to do as much as I can. I am paring down my kit into something that I can carry with me at all times in a small backpack. Since I will be away for a month, I need to take enough to last–so I have stocked up on Staedtler permanent and non-permanent markers–I have grown to like these very much –as well as the trusty Micron 05’s. I’ll take a couple of my favourite Lamy pens as well.And a final cup and saucer sketch. We were at my favourite café and the server heard my cough and raspy voice. Knowing I was going on a plane this weekend, she brought over her special ‘tea for colds’–lemon, cloves and honey. We were sitting in the window table, my favourite, and the tea was delicious and soothing so I celebrated the moment with a quick sketch. Yes I do love those yellow cups, but note for next time–include more of the surroundings in the sketch…btw the sketch below is done in my current sketchbook, Stillman and Birn Delta Series. Although I love the 7″x10′ size and the coil binding, I am not fond of the ivory colour. Seen compared to the while of the one above, my Kenya sketchbook, the hand.book 8.25×8.25, I realize how much I prefer the white paper.
I’m sorry to read that the Delta Series’ ivory shade is not to your liking. Nonetheless, I hope the paper is performing well for you. In the future, please consider our Beta Series instead, which is identical to Delta in every way, but it is white.
Wishing you a pleasant and safe journey,
Thanks so much for writing. First off I have to say that Stillman and Birn Beta series is my very favourite sketchbook. But I am having trouble here in Ontario getting it in the size I want. I found the Delta in the perfect size 7″x10″, but in ivory. I thought I’d give it a try, but seeing it beside the white, I like the white much better.
If you can tell me where I can find a range of S&B Beta sketchbooks in Ontario or Montreal, I will happily buy the larger coil size. As I say, it is truly wonderful paper. I will be taking a smaller S&B coil Beta, 7″x7″, as a backup.
I wish you well on this next journey/adventure and hope your voice and health improve so that the flying isn’t too uncomfortable. That small hooked piece is very sweet. Looking forward to hearing about your time in Kenya.
jill in Ontario
Thanks, Jill. I hope to blog when I am there, so stay in touch.
Looking forward to connecting while you’re gone and hearing all about the trip on your return! I hope the special Tea did the trick 🙂
Are you connected with Heather Richie by any chance? She works with the blind hooking rugs in Africa. I took a class with her this summer, and so enjoyed her stories of the work she’s doing over there. Love the hooked piece you’ve started, and as always, your wonderful sketching.
I am not connected with Heather, but met her once at Green Mountain and had a good talk with her. She does amazing work. It was from Heather that I learned that the women hook without a frame just by wrapping the burlap around their knees to make it taut. When I took a couple of small frames last year, they thought they were silly! And they can produce beautiful even work without all the aids we think we need!
Thanks for the comments Dulcy. I hope to post from Kenya.