In Technicolour: My Winter Colour Palette

In January, I noticed a trend in the photos I was taking – there were a lot of peachy, coral colours alongside different shades of green. I love this combination of colours and can’t wait to apply it to some illustrations or designs.

It’s freezing and grey outside so, I’m just happy that my spirit is still vibrating on a more vibrant frequency!

What colours are speaking to you right now?

 

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Pins of the Week: Eclectic Global Boho Chic

That mouthful of a title summarises much of what visually turns me on. I think of an abundance of pattern, colour, prints – and wacky combinations of all three! Despite the diversity of traditions and design output, I think it’s interesting to note the similarities when you look at Africa, Asia and Latin America. Similarities in feel and creative energy – i.e. something rather intangible – perhaps, more than anything else.

 

2 Abacaxi NYC Skirt

3-African-Style

4-Boho-Prints-Accessories-Bags

5-Kilim-Chairs

6 African-Print-Jekkah-Mens-Shirt-Asos-Africa-Kanga-Top-Trousers

 

Follow me on Pinterest for more eclectic global boho chic.

 

Pins – left-right, from top: Photo by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou; fashion from Abacaxi NYC; skirt from Abacaxi NYC; stylish dudes; prints galore; backpack; chairs; men’s top from Jekkah; Asos Africa outfit.

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Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014

I spent a wonderful weekend in Liverpool, at the UK’s largest African musical festival, Africa Oyé. This year wasn’t just about soaking up the good music and good vibes (although there was still plenty of that) as I was helping out at the Creativity and Noise + Merkato stall.

 

2-Creativity-and-Noise-Yebo-T-shirt-on-Tour

It was great to get out of the big city – I love train journeys, exploring new places and taking a breather from the hecticness of London.

 

3-Setting-Up-Festival-Stall

I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs who regularly set up at markets and events. It’s demanding work!

 

4-Laura-Merkato-MKTO-Setting-Up-Shop

This is Laura Marano, the lady behind Merkato (fairly traded homeware and fashion accessories). You may remember her from a popular Afri-love interview where she talked about her other venture, Green-Safari.

 

5-Merkato-MKTO-Creativity-and-Noise-Stall-Laura-Marano-Lusungu-Chikamata

Laura and Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise. All set up and ready to trade!

 

6-African-Design-Tote-Bags-Creativity-and-Noise

It was exciting to launch the new Creativity and Noise t-shirts and tote bags, designed by yours truly and hand screenprinted by Lusungu.

 

7-African-Design-Baskets-Merkato-MKTO-Taita

Beautiful wares from Merkato. Most made in the Taita-Taveta district of Kenya, where my Dad is from.

 

8-African-Design-T-shirt-Creativity-and-Noise-Drum-Lusungu-Chikamata

Lusungu representing in his new ‘Beat It’ t-shirt. Look for it on the Creativity and Noise shop.

 

9-African-Design-Knit-iPhone-Cases-Merkato

Knit iPhone cases from Merkato.

 

10-African-Design-Guords-Taita-Baskets-Merkato

It was a visual treat checking out what the other vendors had to offer, such as these guords. Right: a Taita basket from Merkato (and the lady who made it!).

 

11-Kenya-Tanzania-Beaded-Bracelets

I met some fellow Kenyans, Muigai and Anto, who were selling these beaded bangles that had me feeling all patriotic. Kenya and Tanzania represented – perfect!

 

13-Moroccan-Shoes-Leather

A wonderful array of colours at Dry Rain, a stall selling Moroccan wares including these leather slippers.

 

14-Coasters-and-Bangles-by-Craft-Africa

Our neighbouring stall had a massive collection of baskets and other woven goods including these coasters, bangles …

 

15-African-Design-Woven-Rugs-Mats-Craft-Africa

… and mats/rugs.

 

16-Zebra-Print-Van-Safari-Food

A funky zebra-print van belonging to a food stall selling all kinds of African game meat, including my beloved crocodile!

 

17-African-Design-Recylced-Flip-Flops-Upcycled-Fridge-Magnets-Merkato

Butterfly fridge magnets made from recycled/upcycled flip-flops. From Merkato.

 

18-Dancing-Chikamatas-Africa-Oye

Of course, there was time for dancing.

 

19-Africa-Oye-With-the-Zambians

Me with the Zambians, all representing with our Creativity and Noise tees.

 

20-Blue-Skies-Africa-Oye-Liverpool

It almost always rains at some point during the Africa Oyé weekend. This year, it didn’t! Blue skies and sunshine throughout. What a bonus?!

 

21-African-Design-Rocking-Merkato-Creativity-and-Noise-Africa-Oye

All geared up and ready for day 2 of the festival.

 

22-Africa-Oye-African-Music-Jally-Kebba-Susso-Joe-Driscoll

We got to watch Joe Driscoll and Jally Kebba Susso  jamming/warming up early on the Sunday morning. The kora on reggae and hip hop tracks sounds amazing!

 

23-Sunset-Africa-Oye-Rose-Tinted-Glasses

As usual, the whole experience was a welcome and wonderful assault on the senses.

One of the things I love about Africa Oyé is that there’s no heavy-handed policing. The police and security presence at this festival is surprisingly minimal – you barely notice them. No gates to walk through where every inch of you is checked, no wall of policemen to intimidate. It just goes to show that if you treat people like human beings, they will act like human beings!

At some point on the Sunday, I found myself feeling a little bit teary. I know this is going to sound corny but, I was overwhelmed by just how beautiful the moment was. All kinds of people – ages, races, abilities; all kinds of random acts of kindness going on; people talking to strangers … real, tangible joy!

See you there next year!

 

Photos by Lulu Kitololo (and a couple courtesy of Lusungu Chikamata), most of them processed with VSCOcam. View even more photos from the weekend, on Facebook.

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Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo

I love the colour, pattern and personality in these prints from Jamilla Okubo’s series, ‘We The People of the Diaspora – Black Culture Exploration’. African-American/Kenyan native Jamilla is an Integrated Fashion Design student and a self-declared painter, textile artist, designer and graphic artist.

Regarding her prints, her site reads:

“The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.”

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp2_905

 

I’m really impressed by Jamilla’s entrepreneurialism. Her prints are on sale online and she’s already received some great press mentions and interviews for her work. In my own experience, the hustling I did before graduation (including spending most of my holidays interning) definitely made a difference when I entered the so-called real world.

Find out more about Jamilla and her diverse work.

Images via Jamilla Okubo’s website

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Earth Day Celebration: Nature as Creative Inspiration

Earth Day Squash

 

Nature has always been my number one source of creative inspiration. The diversity abundant in the flora, fauna and landscapes that surround us have been inspiring artists, craftspeople and designers, around the world, for centuries.

In this late Earth Day post (you may have noticed TypePad was down for a few days last week), I wanted to share some photographs I’ve taken – most of them recent, thanks to my new enjoyment of Instagram, and a couple from the archives. 

 

Patterns in nature

Wundanyi Taita Hills Plants Pattern
 

The leaves above were found in my Aunt and Uncle’s garden in Wundanyi, a beautiful town in the Taita Hills. I love stripes in general so these leaves caught my eye. The photo was taken on my phone and I had some fun with VSCOcam to play with colour (the leaves are actually a dull greyish green) and really bring out the pattern.

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In Technicolour: Turquoise Colour Palettes Inspired by Wax Print

Wax print, and African textiles in general, are often such a great inspiration for me when it comes to my design work, making art and being crafty in general. The shapes, the patterns and of course, the colour combinations! The ‘In Technicolour’ series continues and this time round I’ve got 3 palettes for you, drawing from predominantly turquoise prints.

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Inspired: Lupita, Creative Muse

Lupita-nyongo-dazed-confused-february-2014-2

 

Lupita fever has been such a colourful ride and I’m sure has challenged a lot of us to up our style game! I’ve loved her red carpet dresss (that yellow figure-hugging number with the super V-neck is a particular favourite – you know how I love yellow) but, I’ve found studio shoots such as the ones here, much more interesting. The colours, the shapes, the patterns!

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In technicolour: earthy brights

Colour-2

Something colourful for your Monday: the second installment of the "in technicolour" series. Inspired by this great wax print that I bought in Nairobi years ago (and have been meaning to make an outfit from since!).

Today's colours (from left to right): PMS 155, PMS 362, PMS 116, PMS 7449. 

Have a fab week everybody.