Sending beautiful Sankofa wishes to those celebrating Black History Month in the United Kingdom this month!! Peace and blessings always.

Celebrating Black History in the United Kingdom

Sankofa is the Adinkra symbol that reminds us to Return and Get what has been left behind.

Celebrating Olympic Aya

August 5, 2012

 

Runner design by Vector GraphicsThis week I have been blessed to be able to follow all the amazing physical feats of the athletes in London for  2012 Olympics.  Seeing the wonderful array of countries  represented has been a true treat for this “student of the world” !!  One of  the things we all admire about the Olympic athletes is how much they have gone thru and endured to get to the level of performance we see during the games. This concept of endurance and resourcefulness  is expressed in the Adinkra  symbols as Aya. If the Olympics had been developed in Ghana the medals probably would have  had the  Aya symbol engraved on them.   It is said that those who wear the symbol  have truly endured many adversaries and outlasted much difficulty – something I am sure the Olympians could easily discuss with us. 

Aya represents endurance

Adinkra symbol Aya represents endurance

 

I have  enjoyed seeing the tweets of support for these amazing athletes from around the world in my Twitter timeline.  This morning I received  several  RT ‘s  from @Afridiziak that she received via the UK Postal Service (@PostOffice) about the stamps they have created celebrating UK gold medalists.  Here is the stamp they have created for the UK Olympian Mo Farah.  He truly is an athlete that exemplifies  the concept of the Aya symbol during his career as a long distance runner. 

So this is a salute to celebrate the wonderful athletes and the strong message they tell the world  — Wave the flag of Aya over  all you do and you will see amazing results.

Ok so here we are at the end and I had a really hard time with Z!!!   So I leave you with a ZoomDo – a  craft to create your very own Adinkra t-shirt to sport this summer.   It is a pretty simple activity and over at PBS kids they have instructions for creating a  an Adinkra stamp and then use fabric paint to design your t-shirt.    The design process can be used for other creative projects like wall art.    Enjoy!!

 

 

Adinkra t-shirt craft

Zoom Do

I came across this cute Adinkra Magnet  craft over at the blog  Sacred Arts.  I love that it is simple but allows the crafter to create a colorful  Adinkra magnet as beautiful dimensional expressions.   Cori Lynn  offers a great tutorial with pictures on how to create these magnets using inexpensive coasters glue and a magnetic sheet.   The most time-consuming part of this project is allowing the glue to dry.  I have put this one on our list of crafts to include when we study West Africa!!  I think you could take this craft and use it to create many different unique magnets…Chineese letters, Yoruba numbers,  Swahili words and sooooo much more.  So head over to Sacred Arts and get started !  Please share the pics of all your beautiful creations and I promise to update here as we create our magnets too!!

Adinkra symbol Magnets

Adinkra Magnets from Sacred Arts

War Horn

Akoben represents vigilance

As the A to Z Challenge draws to a close I would like to take this space to extend a challenge to my readers.  Become vigilant for opportunities to promote positive energy.  I think we can all help  make the world the positive place we want it to be  by actively working to find ways to do good through our words and actions!    

Akoben is the adinkra symbol that represents vigilance.  It is the war horn that reminds us to be ready…..I think we all can become more vigilant about  where we can make positive change.  If we actively look for opportunities in our everyday lives to promote positive words, thoughts and actions we will collectively move the ball forward in the right direction.

 

 

So my friends take up the positive “war horn” as you go to work, school and shopping.   Let me know where you found opportunities to promote the positive!!

 

United from A to Z

April 26, 2012

As this A to Z challenge rolls on and heads towards its close I am inspired to remark on the sense of unity  I have discovered.   Despite having a very difficult time keeping pace this past week due to illness…..I have continued to feel a part of this A to Z train!   Seeing all the #atozchallenge tweets and reading posts has been what made me try so hard to find a way to push through!  And now that I am feelin’ better  I am so glad and thankful for all the A to Z pull!! 

Unity togetherness

Adinkra symbol Bese Saka represents Unity, power and togetherness

 So for the letter U – I stand United with my fellow a to z bloggers.  Tha adinkra symbol BESE SAKA represents unity, power and togetherness.   I think it is the symbol that most accurately represents this challenge.  The symbol visually represents cola nuts which is an agricultural product with an important role in Ghana and has influence in bringing people together.  That is how I see the A to Z challenge an important influencer to bring folks together – So powerful!!

Heres to a fantastic finish!

One of the reasons I love Adinkra symbols and have committed to “studying” them is their long history.  It fascinates me that these symbols have been passed down for so many generations in Ghana. They are some what unique because they are a printed form of communication and historically many African traditions are oral.   This is not to say that there are not other traditional written or printed expression on the African continent because there are others for sure!!  I plan to one day explore those too!   

Available at Africancraft.com
Adinkra Stamps

The methods used to print the Adinkra symbols have been passed down too.   Traditionally the symbols are carved into calabash.  The symbol is then printed on fabric using beautiful dyes.   The cloth that is created is a beautiful expression from the printer.   We now have many ways to “create” the Adinkra symbols but it is really important to remember the traditional ways and not lose this knowledge.   One day soon I would like to try my hand at printing on some cloth –  I will be sure to share the fun here.   

Here is a video featuring the Adinkra printing tools with explanation of some of the symbols.  Unfortunately I could not embed the video but click the link and Enjoy!

I  love everything Family!!  I am sure you have guessed this with the many posts I have written  which include something about family.   I have worked quite a bit on my own family history ……an amazing journey that I feel is a gift for my children.  I want them to know they are here because of the prayers, beliefs and hard work of those who preceded them in the family.  My daughter can proudly name 5 generations of  grandmothers!!   I am very fortunate because my maternal grandmother kept and shared a lot of family history which we have today.  I even have the daily diary of my Great Great Aunt circa 1900…..a true treasure and window into what life was like during those days….very hard!!

Sankofa design from Kiarablu

Sankofa reminds us to Return & Get what was left behind

I  encourage everyone to do some family research and/or documentation.  It is not only for yourself but also  for the children of your family.   If you are wondering “where do I begin”  ?  I suggest right where you are.  Begin with your immediate family,  your parents and grandparents.  Fill out the family tree with all that you know –  it will be more than you realize!!  Then begin the Sankofa journey……. ask for the information that is missing from other family members….siblings of your parents and grandparents, their children and spouses.  This  can be done at family gatherings ( even if it is not an “official” family reunion) …..bring the tree with you and connect with others and their families.

Click on the image below for your own family tree to fill out!!  

Adinkra Quilt

April 22, 2012

I have looked forward to the letter Q for this A to Z  Challenge from the begining because I knew I would do QUILT!!  Now I am not a quilter….yet.  It is on my long, long list of  learning sessions I would like to incorporate into my life.  As a full time wife and mom, blogger, business co-owner and more, I just can’t find the time right now.  I do however have many thoughts about an Adinkra quilt.   With each Adinkra symbol offering us a specific meaning we are given a great opportunity to develop a beautiful expression of our inner beliefs thru an Adinkra quilt.

Adinkra Quilt

12 Block Adinkra Quilt

Quilt crafter and teacher Debby Kratovil  has a full size Adinkra quilt pattern CD available on her site Quilter by Design.  The pattern includes 12 symbols and instructions for the blocks.   She does not mention if she includes the meanings for each symbol but if you would like to  look them up   visit  http://www.adinkra.org.

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Adinkra Quilt-056

The fabric designer Kweli Kitwana has a cute Adinkra design available at Spoonflower that can be used to create a quilt.  She offers several Adinkra designs that I think could be combined with this fabric also.    I am thinking about purchasing this fabric and adorning it with the  brass adinkra symbols  (see below)

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Available @ Cultured Expressions

Brass Adinkra symbols

Lisa Shepard at Cultured Expressions  offers unique Brass Adinkra adornments for your quilt.  I think  the addition of these beautiful brass pieces will give crafters  a unique dimensional  plane to their quilt.   Cultured Expressions also has several other adornment options, beautiful fabric and many more quilt treasures on the site.   If you are planning to create an Adinkra quilt be sure to visit Lisa’s site!

As we come to the next stop in the A to Z Blogging Challenge I have decided to look at Handmade books for the letter H.

Artist Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord has an awesome site MakingBooks.com where she offers lots of great information about a variety of ways to work with children and teach them how to make their own books.   Designing and creating a book can be a powerful experience for a child.  It shows them that they can not only be readers but also writers of books!  And we all know there can NOT be too many good writers in the world!!  As mom to a growing little writer I am constantly looking for new ways to encourage my daughters  writing activities.   We have not tried any of  Susan’s projects but it is definitely on my list of  weekend “to-do’s”. 

Of course when I spied the Adinkra symbol book I was very excited!  Here is a picture of the completed project and I have linked it to instructions for the project on one of Susan’s blogs!

Adinkra Accordion book

Adinkra Accordion Book from MakingBooks.com

Be sure to stop by MakingBooks.com for instructions on how to make this great book and other great book projects.

Have you created any handmade books with children?  I would love to hear about the stories they’ve created!

Blogging A to Z Challenge