Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life-Changing Sandals

No, I am NOT talking about my addiction to shoes. Neither about that rare pair of shoes that DOESN'T hurt my sensitive feet (although they WOULD be life-changing to me).

I am talking about the Massaï Project of the Spanish brand Pikolinos. For the last 2 years, this company has been contributing to the development of the activity of around 1.400 families through the remuneration of Masaï Mara women making the shoes in Kenya.

OK, I agree, you have to have a little bit of Pocahontas aspirations to actually wear them. I guess I would only wear them if they are delivered by some strong Masaï Mara men ;-)

That being said, I love the idea of succesful companies in the West investing in smaller communities and benefiting from their craftmenship. I only hope that this is a longer term investment that they are making, because if these women only can earn for a year or two, what will the impact on their families and community be in the longer run?

Ok, Sara, stop thinking, just enjoy that yet one more project is florishing in Mama Africa.

Tribel Art

OK, In general I don't really fancy the Dutch... I checked the audience I have on this blog before starting my post ;-) seems they don't like me neither! BUT that is in general. In not general, there are some Dutch whom I like, and also some great artists (and pretty girls and tall men).

Today I would like you to take a look at Dutch photographer Ingrid Baars, and more in particular her collection of pictures called "L'Afrique!". Love the way she plays with contrasts and light, while merging african tribal art and strong african faces, sensual bodies. Note the occasional accessory by Jean-Paul Gauthier. I love the complex and contemporary take on the subject, although I find most images a little tacky. Only a few would fit in my living room, but I still think that this is very inspiring work!

What do you think?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Guardian Stone of Travelers

My passion for the stone Malachite began in 1986, when I discovered this stone laid out on the floor in Zaire, where sales men tried to sell us beautiful pieces for small prices. Since, Malachite is for me the "stonification" of Africa, the one stone that takes my mind instantly to Mother Africa. I once even bought really expensive sunglasses from Dior (with my tiny wage), JUST because they had small fake Malachite stones set into the sides... How typical that I now find out that this stone is said to be the Guardian Stone of Travelers!!

Malachite comes from ancient Greek "moloché", which originally means mauve, though the most famous type of malachite is known for its green hue. An opaque stone with light and dark striations, malachite was mined as early as 4,000 BC by the ancient Egyptians. Its distinctive shade results from the presence of copper. Because of its recognisable green color and the fact that it usually accompanies copper deposits, malachite is used as a guide when prospecting for this metal. The most beautiful stones come from RDC and Australia.

I am really happy to have discovered that the beautiful house of Van Cleef and Arpels has issued an entire collection with Malachite this year. Unfortunately the pieces are too expensive for me... But each time I pass in front of this jeweler (just around the corner of my office in Geneva), I stop and dream of Africa!