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Great lesson Idea - Weya Story Quilts from Zimbabwe

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  • Judy Decker
    Greetings Art Educators, 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2011
      Greetings Art Educators,

      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:
      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).


      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.
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