Ecoafriq eshop - Issue #13 The Passionate Pursuit of Creativity .

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Ecoafriq eshop - Issue #13 The Passionate Pursuit of Creativity .
By Ecoafriq • Issue #13 • View online
I started ecoafriq in 2016. I grew up around African crafts and love the colours, creativity and culture.
The materials I favour to weave hats and bags are raffia straw, sugarcane, sisal fibres and vines. These materials are biodegradable, easy to dye, weave and are sourced in Africa.
Leftover fruits and vegetables materials such as peels and skins, beetroot, avocado skins, spinach, brown onions, plums, used tea bags- are some of the organic ingredients used for creating natural dyes in a variety of colours. My team and I mix and experiment with different plants, fruits and vegetables scraps to see what type of colours we can create. The intensity and shade vary, depending on what and how fruits, vegetables and plants are combined. The benefits of making our own dyes is that they’re easy to make and toxin free.
Africa has 54 independent states. Each country has its own craftsmanship styles and creativity. African textiles are a form of expression that Africans use to define themselves. The textiles art gives insights into the social, economic complexities, and creativity of many African communities whose sophisticated cultures we may otherwise remain ignorant about. 
The handcrafted products are also eco friendly, constructed from clean resources and are made in a workshop by talented artisans.

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The inspiration to make these raffia straw bags comes from Southern Africa. The style is highly expressive and laid back. 
Materials used are raffia straw and sugar cane. Each bag is handmade and takes a few hours. Creating these bags allows me to share my love of mixing the old and new techniques to create something completely unique for my customers. Nothing goes to waste. At ecoafriq we find inventive ways to utilize every bit and scrap in our supply. Products we make take less energy and natural resources to produce.
These bags exude art, culture, history and African pride. The creativity process boosts team work, optimism, resilience and encourages ideas. The process gives a feeling of self accomplishment and confidence. The artistic journey encourages a sense of control and purpose by allowing the team to focus on the task placed in front of them.
Raffia fibres are soft, durable, and easy to dye and made from Raffia palm mostly grown in Africa. It’s one of the materials we favour for our summer/ spring trends. The fibres are truly invaluable because they don’t shrink with moisture and are pliable enough to weave. The flexibility of the raffia fibre also makes it an excellent material to make baskets, hats, mats and bags. Raffia is also very useful in agriculture (it’s used to tie vegetables and plants) and very popular to use as ribbons around boxes and candles.
The artisans enjoy working with raffia and appreciate it’s sustainable qualities. Whenever something is made at our workshop, a part of the artist is reflected in the product. We take pride in each finished product because it reflects our hard work, creativity and vision. The artisan team connects the African heritage of the past with our experience of the present, have a unique relationship with materials and are experts in paying attention to details.
Ecoafriq is about people and not machines. It’s also about the time and effort that goes into each piece, the artisans skills and imagination. Handmade items are more sustainable than mass production. The focus is to sell and promote supporting craftsmanship and creativity. Instead of placing focus on offering the largest variety of accessible products, the practice of handmade emphasises on selling products that are made using traditional skills, art and sustainable materials.
The products offer a better experience and back story. The end product is unique, sentimental and tells a story about the creative spirit.
Being able to sell online allows me and my team to share the craftsmanship and creativity with the world. 
Check https://ecoafriq.shop to see more of ecoafriq’s designs.
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Côte d'Azur, Namibia, London