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Re:[teacherartexchange] Weya Story Quilts from Zimbabwe - another source for Quilts

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From: Judy Decker (jdecker4art_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 07 2011 - 07:42:46 PST


Greetings Art Educators,

I did buy the book on these beautiful story quilts by the Weya women.
When I am finished with it, I will offer it to anyone who is going to
do a lesson on them - or use them in some way for a lesson (as
inspiration for a learning center -- whatever).

I also picked out 2 Story Quilts I would like to buy from Africa
Direct - can't decide which one. All of Eliza's are from Precious and
Richard - although all not done by Precious (some by family members).
I like the story of one - but like the aesthetics of the other.

Eliza told me that Precious' and Richard's children can go to school
because of the sale of these Story Quilts. When Eliza goes to
Zimbabwe, she buys all that Precious has left to sell.

I know that some of the ones on Africa Direct are pricey for an art
visual. I was poking around on the World Folk Art site and they have
some smaller ones for sell in the $45 range. I love buying from that
site, too. I always get comments on my Frida earrings! I also
purchased some Haitian Steel drum art.
http://worldfolkart.org/

I encourage all of you to include actual art as examples in your
lessons. Pictures are good - but when they have the real deal to look
at, the students are motivated even more (at least from my own
experience. Maybe I was motivated more, too?). I took in well over
$1000.00 worth of African art for them to look at and handle - that is
why I bought it. So many children may never see an art museum. I am
not saying you all need to spend $1000.00 on beautiful things.....
Start small.... Like a Weya Story Quilt (smile).

As an art educator, it was my job to get the children to want to buy
art, too - not just make art. When I volunteered at Ten Thousand
Villages, it was so much fun to see former students of mine buying the
work of artisans around the world.

Judy Decker

P.S. As always, Getty list folks, if you post a reply, remember to
remove my email address. Your efforts to clip out email addresses in
your responses reduces the amount of Spam we all receive. Thank you
for your consideration.

> It is no secret that I have a passion for African art. I LOVE the
> Story Quilts made by the Weya women of Zimbabwe - a relatively new art
> form for them (since 1984).
>
> Africa Direct has one on eBay right now offering a minimum bid of only
> $50 - called "Village Life". I just looked around my house and have no
> place to hang it (plus I promised my hubby to "sit on my hands" for a
> while so I don't place bids -- grin. I must post a picture soon of my
> wonderful elephant mask from Burkina Faso. I named him "Numi" - short
> for Nunuma). I am at the point where I must take something down if I
> buy something new. If I were still teaching I would snatch up one (or
> more) of these and do a lesson. Younger children could use scraps of
> wallpaper to tell their story (or even fabric). Older children could
> use a variety of fabrics - including some cultural fabrics to
> represent their heritage (if they wished). Also, make a connection to
> Faith Ringgold. Each and every one I have seen is charming - and so
> colorful. The one I like best is "Responsible Husband" on the Africa
> Direct site, but the asking price is higher.
>
> Here is the story of the quilts (copied from Africa Direct):
>
> The Weya quilt is a product of a group of women living in rural
> Zimbabwe who were taught by the European artist Ilse Noy. Ms. Noy came
> to Zimbabwe in 1984 as a member of the German Volunteer Service. After
> working for three years at the Cold Comfort Weaving Co-operative on
> the outskirts of Harare, Ilse moved to Weya, a small communal area in
> Zimbabwe . There she taught local women sewing and painting skills,
> and appliqué and embroidery techniques.
>
> Today the Weya quilt workshop has become a veritable industry and the
> quilts are sold across Zimbabwe, in neighboring countries, and in
> fact, all over the world. The diverse themes depicted on the quilts
> reveal many aspects of the Weya women's culture. The quilt-makers have
> in effect translated their daily life into their works, alluding to
> their marriage, their husband and children, sexuality, death, spirits,
> ancestors, hopes and worries. The quilts are inspiring expressions of
> humanity and have proved to be great sources of revenue for the brave
> artists who make them.
>
> For more information and other examples see Ilse Noy, THE ART OF THE
> WEYA WOMEN, by Baobab Book, 1992, 1994
>
> To view these, go to Africa Direct:
> http://www.africadirect.com/
> Enter Weya in the search feature and you will find 28 marvelous story
> quilts - many now reduced (which saddens me). I have come to be close
> friends (virtual friends) with Eliza (owner). I know she paid a fair
> price for all of these (maybe purchased on her trip there last
> summer?) and may very well be selling them at her cost now.
>
> The book to compliment your lesson is available on Amazon.com. Since I
> have no room for a quilt, I may buy the book to enjoy the images.
>
> TAB folks, I know you don't do lesson plans the way other folks do,
> but it is good to show where artists get ideas. These women learned
> from another crafts person and now tell the stories of their life
> through fabric. Fabric applique has long been a part of many African
> cultures (primarily in West Africa). Connections are important.
>
> If any of you do a lesson - with or without making a purchase of your
> own Story Quilt - please let me know. I would like to see images. No
> need to send a lesson plan. I am still contemplating putting an art
> education site back on line - but it won't have detailed lesson plans
> - only sparks of ideas with images. Writing detailed lesson plans has
> no benefit to me - never did (except when I had to write them for a
> grade in graduate school).

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