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.

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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.

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!

A Reading Culture

April 25, 2012

Several months ago I visited the blog Puddles in Africa by Christine.  I was  so happy to read about the beautiful journey she experienced thru the  introduction of   books to her daughter Eva. Christine  also  introduced me to the organization  Ethiopia Reads.   This fantastic group is working to bring reading culture to the youth in the  East African nation of Ethiopia.  Providing these children with an education offers them the opportunity to positively change  the direction of their future.  This will allow them to contribute and positively impact their local communities.   Ethiopia Reads offers the mission goal of connecting children of Ethiopia with books through the  planting libraries  with appropriate reading and training materials for students and educators.  They believe  “Those who read…..bloom”   I whole heartedly agree!! 

www.etiopiareads.org

Ethiopia Reads

Ethiopia Reads  has established several ways to support and help these children “bloom” thru reading.   I challenge all of my Adinkra Love readers and visitors to find a way to support this group.  Community groups can become a Friend of Ethiopia Reads Partner.  Use the   20 ways to support Ethiopia Reads List for  group activities   that will  promote and support  the planting of  libraries.   All donations to the organization are Tax Deductable….be sure to look at the list of how far the donated dollars go here.    This is truly an example of  how a little can go a looonnngg way.   A third way to support this organization  would be  to purchase one of the beautiful books for sale on their website.  Several of the titles are autographed by the author.

by Jane Kurtz

Saba- Under Hyenas Foot

 Are you working with any organizations that promote reading??   I believe if we all  work to  find ways to make a  positive difference for the next generation we will be happy with the beautiful world that it is sure to be!!

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!

Nice Hair

April 18, 2012

This blog post is dedicated to all the little girls with curly hair. As mom to a young girl of African descent I have had many discussions about hair.  When she first went to school, my daughter soon began asking questions about blonde and straight hair.  We talked at length about the differences between her best friends hair (blonde, straight , unbraided) and her hair ( curly, black and braided).  I have always taught her that hair comes in many, many varieties.  This fact means that there are many different ways people will style their hair.   My daughter can now admire many different styles without any envy that her hair is not exactly the same.  This makes me happy.

Fashion Doll - Pre Afro treatment

Fashion Doll selected to recieve an Afro

 Last year I came across a great article about creating an Afro  for Barbie.  I was pleasantly surprised because I have never seen a fashion doll with really curly hair.  Even way back when in the ’60s when Afros where high fashion in the African-American community.   (Yes I was the little girl way back then LOL)

The “hair prep”  steps needed for this Afro creation were pretty simple….twirl the hair, curl it up on pipe cleaners and dip in really hot water.

 

Pipe cleaner sor curlers!

The make over begins

When I posed this project to my fashion doll  lovin’ daughter she jumped  for joy -” Yes” she squealed to my delight.     So together we worked to twist up the doll’s  hair and curled it on pipe cleaners.  It was a very bonding experience to teach my daughter to get the twists  nice and smooth.  “Girl stuff” my husband noted — To which my dear daughter smiled and said Yes it is!! ( Gotta love the Girl Power there)

We were able to complete the style but we did not get a true Afro – maybe because her hair was so long.  My daughter loves the increased texture so all is well in the land of “lil Duafe”  which makes me smile and oh soooo happy to be in the mommy “hood”.

How have you explained hair differences to the little girls in your life?  Have you received questions or statements of  envy for another childs hair or styles?

Here is a link to the tutorial for how  give fashion dolls  an Afro 

http://playbarbies.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/custom-rotini-or-halo-hair/

Barbie with an Afro

what you should get

As I continue on the journey of A to Z Blogging we come to E.  This was a difficult one for me to determine what to write about – I have finally settled on Energy – the much-needed – over used resource  of the modern world.

Currently many people on the African continent are working to find reliable sources of energy for  residents of many countries.  Because the infrastructure  in many countries is not as well-developed or reliable as we enjoy here in US   there have been many projects to create energy sources locally.  Solar energy has become a great way to offer rural residents an ongoing energy source.  Solar energy can be harnessed through panels  that can be by placed  local residents.  This addition to homes in the rural areas reduces the need for expensive kerosene oil and provides more hours of light thereby increasing productivity after dark sunset.

Here is a great video describing a program that trains Grandmothers in Kenya to install Solar Panels to their village. They received the nick name  “Solar Sisters”.  They can then teach others and extend the knowledge to neighboring villages.  What a powerful chain of events this can be to a region with no electric grid.

I also would like to share  another view of energy that I came across  – Sankofa Energy fabric  from KKweli over at Spoonflower.  I love the vibrance of this design and  truly appreciate  the concept of having tons of ENERGY to go back and claim what we left behind!!   

Sankofa_Energy_Green

Adinkra Cakes

April 3, 2012

C is for Cake and that good enough for me!  With wedding season approaching I  decided to share some beautiful cakes that  I have come across on the web!  What is so wonderful about including Adinkra symbols on your wedding cake is that the symbols each have meaning so you can choose the several that are true expressions of the couple!

Some of the common symbols used for weddings include:

Adinkra symbol of faith and trust in GodNYAME NTI which represents by Gods Grace – it is a symbol of trust and faith in God

 

 

 

adinkra symbol of love faithfulness and harmonyOSRAM NE NSOROMMAThe moon and the star which  is a symbol of love, faithfulness and harmony.

Adinkra symbol for tolernce and patienceAKOMA – the heart – symbol of patience and tolerence

Adinkra Cake Jollye

adinkra symbols wedding cake stephaniethebaker.com

And here are two lovely Birthday Cakes highlighting Adinkra symbols!

This is why I love the symbols so much – each has great significance and speaks to us beautifully and boldly!

Includes Gye Nyame and Osram Ne Nsoromma

Adinkra Birthday Cake by Pona

Gye Nyame Adinkra symbol reprents omnipitence of God

Gye Nyame cake by Elsi Aikens

Sankofa Art

March 7, 2012

The Adinkra symbol Sankofa is a powerful statement to many across the African Diaspora.  For many of us it represents  our strong desire to reach back…way back to our ancestral home and learn about the culture our forefathers and mothers had to leave behind.  We have much of that culture within us and we don’t even know it!

As a salute to this powerful symbol that stands as  a strong reminder of our journey to African knowledge I would like to share this photo of the artwork by Goddess Angelika   I am so happy to see my enlightened Brothers and Sisters sharing the knowledge of the beautiful Adinkra symbols. This trend of sharing is the key for us all to join the powerful Sankofa journey.

Sankofa by Goddess Angelika

Adinkra symbol Sankofa

For more African cultural expressions thru poetry and art visit Goddess Angelika Tumblr