Me at Lucy's Wedding. The sun does shine in England!

Me at Lucy's Wedding. The sun does shine in England!
Me still in England!

Monday, 31 October 2011


Osogbo is the home of artists. Sadly it was raining when we visited and we were not able to see all the different crafts they do at the Nike workshop. We did get to see the Batik and the amazing designs.In Nigeria they don't use the little spoon like we have instead they use a tool made of foam. Some artists use cassava paste and produce a very distincive indigo design which does not show on the inderside of the cloth as in traditional batik.
The workshop where artists serve their apprenticeship.

Beautiful designs.

Students first spend a long time drawing patterns in their sketch books.

These are the pots with the dye. They also had a fire outside for melting the wax.

Baba is one of the artists. He does beautiful wood carving.
He keeps his tools in this beautiful chest! Daniel, another artist and Baba showed us round the workshop and then took us to the gallery owned by the artist, Nike. There were many beautiful fabrics here. The beaded pictures were beautiful and must take hours of patience as they are glued to give very subtle hues. I bought a batik tee-shirt but the prices of the other things were above my VSO allowance! The rain finally stopped and we got into a taxi and drove to the Sacred Forest-home of the Goddess of Love.

The forest is surrounde by walls and this is the entrance gate. It has lots of carvings of the Yoruba gods and goddesses on it but this is the important one-the mermaid goddess of love for which Osogbo is famous. Many people claim to have seen her at the ceremony held every August. They calim to have seen her rising out of the river. So we went in, having paid for the privilege of using my camera and a guide. The guide was quite hard to understand but it was an amazing place. Suzanne Wenger came to Osogbo in her twenties and really absorbed herself into the culture. She learned the languauge, married a Nigerian chief and adopted many Nigerian children. She was responsible for restoring the sacred forest which is now a UNESCO site. She died last year and highly respected here and almost treated as a goddess. She was an artist too and renovated the monuments in the forest as wellas adding new ones.

This is one of the new buildings which made me think of the Hobbit.

These statues are Yoruba gods and Suzanne is included. There are a lot of these statues scattered around the forest.

This is quite a spectacular statue-the goddess of fertility. People still come here to make offereings to the gods as could be seen from the rotting fruit on many of the statues. Two women-sort of priestesses I suppose stay here all the time to just pray to the goddess. We were suppposed to bring them aghift but were told that money would instead!!!!
The statue in the river was quite unusual too. Apparently former Yoruba kings would prostrate themselves on the banks of the river. They also had to go through certain gates backwards-all part of the ritual. The guide was particularly proud of the bridge which they called the Hanging bridge. The idea of a suspension bridge
was amazing to them and still is today. Health and safety is out of the window though as parts of the rail are missing and I was careful not to fall into the murky waters! It was quite atmospheric walking around as it was still misty after the rain. It was also nice to be surrounded by trees. There were quite a lot of monkeys as they are protected in the forest.

The hanging bridge

Happy to receive our gift-hope she prays for us!
The goddess in the water. This is where the mermaid has been seen. The bank is where the kings prostrated themselves.
The first palace.

After this we took another taxi to see Suzanne Wenger's house. It is very elaborately decorated. The stone carvings are very unusual as are the drawings on the wall-they have a real aboriginal feel to them. We met one of her adopted daughters in the 'shop' and it soon became clear that I was meant to buy something. Fortunately there was a jumble of beads on a table as the works of art were not priced and I am sure way out of our league. I am not sure how wew ould have got the stone sculptures back on the bus either! I chose a green and brown necklace. I was told green and brown are spiritual colours so it was a good choice.
Back at the hotel I enjoyed the vegetarian special-a plate of chips with ketchup! the hotel was actually very nice-it was basic but clean and there was a telly. The next morning Lea made the mistake of ordering an 'English' breakfast which consisted of cornflakes served with hot powdered milk, toast, bright pink sausages, beans and an omelette so peppery it left him gasping! Daniel kindly took us back to the bus to make sure we got the correct price. The journey back was very hot but the driver wasn't in such a hurry as the one coming so I could relax a bit more. We were lucky as we had a seat each which is unusual.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Madame
    I’m interesting to learn the Adire Eleko cloth method.
    Please give me the information about “How To Make Adire Eleko cloth”
    1. how to prepare the paste ( only use the cassava flour or add the other chemical like copper sulphate or alum and the others ?),
    2. how to draw designs and what are tools used to draw,
    3. how to dye the resisted cloth in indigo/natural dyes and how to seal the color/fixation color (so that the color does not fade),
    4. and finally, how to remove the cassava from the finished work.
    And How to make batik wax in Nigeria.
    I am interested in the way of making batik wax in Nigeria. they do not use tjanting, but using foam that has a pointed tip. batik craftsmen in nigeria using foam and dipped in melted wax. I want to know, what kind of foam used, if the foam to wash the dish-washers is impossible because it is too soft, is it possible types of foam rather harsh? and how it made the melted wax, if the wax is mixed with water only then heated or added to other materials? so what kind of wax to use? I see a very dilute melted wax and hand of craftsmen no overheating when he dip in? What this might dilute the melted wax has cooled, after the heating process?
    I hope you give me the information (maybe with the picture) and please send to my email :
    Thanks Madame.
    Greet from Indonesia.