YASMIN TELLS

Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Thursday, 22 June 2017

BESPOKE BINNY


I returned home to the UK from Senegal nearly six months ago now. I can’t believe how quickly the time flies. Anyone who knows me or has read my blog will know how much I love that place and how it has molded me as a person. To the point that my sister refers to me as a Senegalese wannabe! Whilst I was there I vividly remember my first encounter with this thick yet coarse texture of the hand woven fabric in a market down town in Dakar. It was nothing like any of the handmade techniques I had seen before and I quickly discovered why.

Mud cloth is also known as Bogolan/Bogolanfini and it originates from Mali. The cloth is traditionally dyed with fermented mud and holds great cultural significance to the citizens of Mali. It is distributed worldwide and originates from Mali. I thought I would clearly state this as I have seen the cloth has been re-categorized as ‘boho/bohemian’ one too many times online, when it’s really not. Some people will call this cultural appropriation but I will save that for another post.

I was glad that Bespoke Binny contacted me, as I was able to relive that experience of my first interaction with mud cloth in the market down town in Dakar. Bespoke Binny is a British gift and home ware brand that offer a range of African inspired interior and stationary products. Not to mentions the aprons and the funky oven mitts!


Although I have only captured it on the sofa I feel that the cushion case would suit the bedroom also regardless of what colour your walls might be painted. The beauty of this product is that the dark tones give it a camouflage effect. Did you know that Malian hunters usually wear the cloth as attire in order to do the exact same thing? (camouflage). That being said I am sure it will vibrantly make its presence known and sit in the background when need be. (It’s super scary how I talk about products as if they are human, but I find that is how you select the best and most suitable home ware additions to your home. Try it!)

‘Home is where the heart is’ and having a home that is a reflection of you is essential to your well being." - Natalie Manima of Bespoke Binny



Who would have known that the narrow stripes meets bold print of Mud Cloth cushion alongside mink grey walls are a match made in heaven?

Bespoke Binny’s ethos of home living and wellbeing really resonates with me. I am at home but at the very same time I’m not. Perhaps that is just a travel bug thing. Home is where you feel safe, somewhere you should have comfort and peace of mind. I guess your home/your rented room/apartment can be anywhere in the world, but wherever it is make sure it reflects yourself. Whether that is through the vibrant colours, patterns, heritage or in my case a memory, rooted in the beauty of African expression. This mud cloth cushion by brings all the warmth a room needs.





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Saturday, 17 June 2017

MEET ASMAH WILLIAMS



A month ago I came across the.black pepper’s Instagram page. I didn’t know who they were but I loved what they did with collages. Whilst doing my research I discovered the person behind the username was the promising artist and influencer Asmah Williams. 

 After viewing her Tumblr page that can inspire any A seat at the Table listener for days as she sophistically infuses art, craft and fashion, I thought I must get in contact with her as I was eager to find out the concepts behind her work. It all began with a direct message on social media and the rest is history!

Enjoy my interview with Asmah Williams. I’m glad to get you acquainted. (Thank me later!)




1.Tell us about Asmah Williams, how do you define yourself?

I am a Nigerian visual creative and student living in the UK. Whilst studying Law and Business at college. Collage art developed as a hobby that I continued to explore. I would probably say my work gravitates towards exploring the subconscious of my mind and image re-imagination. I also share with my audience my personal style that I believe subtly seeks to break the stereotypes associated with modest fashion.


  

2. Why is collaging your preferred medium to use when expressing your work?

It leans towards a broader form of expression. Creating a different meaning and telling a different story each time with a single image. Collaging is looking past the original image to create a different meaning based on emotions and events. It's almost as if it leaves a blank canvas that can be reused and allows the viewer to interpret based on their emotion. Collages does not say this is what I want you to see because often it is usually intricate.  They convey a meaning that is personal to the viewer. I think with collages I have more artistic freedom. When I see or shoot a picture I have stories in my head that the original picture may not convey. With collages I am able to fuse photography and art. I like to create things that reflect my emotions that is why I wouldn't necessarily create when I have no inspiration or interest, it would not come across as authentic. This makes it hard sometimes when I get commissions and there is a deadline.

ASMAH WILLIAMS X MICHEAL NELSON



3.What does your project with Daniel Obasi signify/mean to you?

I've always admired Daniel's work and vice versa so when we thought to collaborate together; it seemed natural to reinterpret some of his beautiful self-portraits. When looking at Daniel's work you see a sense of self, gracefulness and ethereality and so I thought to complicate that by reimagining the portraits to create this otherworldly image synonymous with the sun.

ASMAH WILLIAMS X DANIEL OBASI

4.How do you get inspired?


A large part of my inspiration comes from discovering shapes and forms alongside old photographic works. When it leaves a tingling in my belly, the inspiration comes. At other times, I think ‘is this honest?’ If yes, I allow myself to create and continue, I like to take into consideration the honesty that comes from behind the visual because it always shows. I’m still working on being more honest. It's difficult when I am in full time education studying such a ‘conventional’ research based course that leaves me little or no time to dwell in that mindset.

I am also inspired by everything I haven’t seen, one of my favourite commissions allowed me to explore the Masai and Samburu tribe of Kenya, learning about things that I normally wouldn’t have to draw inspiration from inspires me.


Masai tribe member


5. What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

I think it's quite hard to choose. Usually I am emotionally attached to the last piece I've created. I am most proud of the project ‘Lying under the purple moon’, it was very spontaneous. I was on the bus, but there is an ingenious truth that I see every time I look at it that makes me even more in proud. I think the most beautiful reward was seeing a number of people use that piece to reflect International Women’s day. I was in awe that many people connected to it.




6. Who are your influencers/inspiration?

Specifically to collaging, German artist Brian de Graft(B.D. Graft), the Dada movement particularly their nonsensical approach to collage. Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Erased de Kooning Drawing’.

I am rediscovering the works of Yves Klein and Jiro Yoshihara. I love having to go back to Ellsworth Kelly and Paul Klee. As for fashion my parents with their highly idiosyncratic approach to style.

My music influences vary from Benjamin Clementine, Christine and the Queens and Sami Yusuf. I am such an observer, I seek inspiration from nearly everyone, and there is just a certain beauty from the way someone speaks or sees life that excites me. I am actually developing an interest in film, after my final exams, over the past two weeks, I’ve been seeing old classics and searching for patterns of melancholy, vulnerability and naivety. It's strange but I am quite naive so I love to see a motion picture exploring the unworldly nature of naivety- watch the film Amelie!

ASMAH WILLIAMS X DANIEL OBASI

Check out more of Asmah's work here.


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