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Woohoo! Summer!!!

kenyacaftanlynn.jpgHappy Warm Season

Nobody can be as happy as me today! It was really warm yesterday and it’s repeating today. Right now it’s 82F. Love it!

I think I’m a child inside. No, I know it. I remember living next door to 3-year-old twins back in the late 60’s, and those girls changed clothes a minimum of 3 times a day. My big excitement of the day is “what will I wear today?” And sometimes I end my day with “What will I wear tomorrow?”

One Non-Standard Artform

kenyadresslynn.jpgI maintain that costuming is an artform. I love clothing… colors, fabrics, shapes. I love putting pieces together. Since I am partial to four main colors (turquoise, fuschia, purple and hot green), mostly everything in my closet goes together as far as colors go.

When I decide what I will wear, I get to think about what the day holds (classes, errands) I also think of what weather we are expecting, and put together silhouettes that please my eye and feel comfortable to wear.

For me, choosing clothing for the day is usually a joy. I know that many other folks just want to be comfortable and not think much about what to wear. For me, the process of choosing makes my life more full.

Sometimes I don’t look like I planned much, I tend to put things together that others would not. There are also days when I have less time to plan ahead.

However, when it hits 82F, I wear clothes from Africa and India, for the most part. There is nothing more beautiful than flowing fabric on a warm day, if you ask me. (Flowing caftans are much more comfy in heat than too-tight shorts clinging to the body, anyway.)

Yesterday I wore a dress from Egypt during the day and a dress from Democratic Republic of Congo for dinner/concert. Today it’s a two-piece outfit from India. It is so exciting to find that the weather is warm enough again, for these favorites.

Lovely African Clothing, Fair Trade

Yesterday night, I wore my new dress/caftan from Shona. This is a group of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who make clothing one piece at a time for export. It is a unique organization because the woman who does the web work volunteers 100% of her time, and the women spend their time on sewing.

It is also unique in that all the craftspeople at Shona are handicapped in some way. Their legs do not work properly and they need crutches or braces to get around. And yet I tell you, the dress I wore yesterday was top notch and the woman who made it can be proud.

The stories of the women are online, you can read what they have gone through to become self-supporting businesswomen. They often support another family member, or more than one. In much of Africa, often a person with legs that do not work, is expected to scoot around using their hands, and they are expected to beg.

When I was in Ethiopia, these people would wear “flip flops” on their hands to make scooting around more comfortable. I wished I had brought several dozen pairs of flip flops on my trip.

I suggest you take a look at this amazing group’s website. When there was war in their area, they had to go to another place briefly, to keep working. They had to rent space in that second location until it was safe to return home. I admire these women for “keeping on keeping on,” as they say.

Please check out their site. The prices are good and the quality is also very good. I just love my caftan.

Shona Crafts from Congo -Fair Trade, Excellent Products, Good Prices

The photos above are some garments I purchased in Africa in 2004-2005. The first I found in Mombasa, Kenya and it is cotton with embroidery (probably rayon thread). The second I found in Nairobi, Kenya, and it is hand-dyed rayon with embroidery. The clothing from Shona is different, but every bit as lovely.

3 Responses to “Woohoo! Summer!!!”

  1. Howlin' Hobbit Says:

    Your definition of art (which I agree with, BTW) reminds me of Aleister Crowley’s definition of magick: “Any conscious, willful act is an act of magick.”

    I don’t always hit the mark, but “life as art” has always struck me as a good path.

  2. momtroll Says:

    I have always felt that your body is like a painter’s canvas. When you drape your body with clothes and add shoes, earrings and extras, you are creating an impression as if you were a painting people view for pleasure.
    When you were in high or middle school I told you that before you go to an event, you decide what is right to wear. If you are in a long dress and everyone else is in jeans, you made tha right choice. I love the way you continue to dress for what is right for you.

  3. Dawn Hurley Says:

    Hi Lynn,
    Thank you for supporting SHONA through your purchase and thank you for telling others about us!! We are a small organization and each time you tell people about us really makes a difference.

    I wish you could visit Congo, because clothing here is an exact reflection of the joy you find in colors, fabrics, and shapes. The women (and even the men) here love to wear vibrantly colored cloths sewn into elaborate costumes. Life is hard here, and life is dirty, but I never cease to marvel at the beautifully arrayed people you can walking down even the most garbage strewn street. It is as though people here choose joy, they choose vibrant colors, as a way of changing the world they live in…one colorful outfit at a time!

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