Photography by Dario Pequeno Paraiso
After Droog’s weaving workshop in July in Sao Tome, a group of passionate locals continue to use their newly acquired skills to weave a 90m long curtain. The curtain will offer their local cultural center, Cacau the possibility to divide and open the space according to their needs.
For the Cacau project textile designer Nikkie Wester translated the traditional Gobrlin technique into a contemporary weaving method. Only weaving the outlines of the pattern.
Meet the weavers of Cacau.
From left to right: Engrácia Isabel, Gualter Martinho Henrique, Alzira Medeiros, Sonia Mendes, Luisa Monteiro, Guimarley Oliveira, Angelina Cabral Cuba, Silania Pascoal Domingas, Etelvina Monteiro, Fernanda Mendes Vaz da Silva, Nilza Piedade, Eusébio Dias Fernandes, Alaize Martins Vincente, Seli Soares Martins, Nilsa Elvira, Eula Fonseco Sousa Pontes, Irodina Almeida, Marlene Soares, Cremilda Vaz da Conceição Santana, Manuel do Espírito Santo Santana
This magical botanical garden belongs to São Tomé local, Olivia. Weavers of the 90m long curtain designed by Droog have been utilizing Olivia’s plants as natural dyes for the curtain’s fibers. We can’t wait to see the results!
The indigo plant is native to São Tomé however there were no current applications of indigo use as dying material on the island. The curtain will be made from local non-toxic dyes and materials found on the island of São Tomé such as banana fiber and pigments from plants and minerals.<Br><br>
The weavers brought their first visit to the cultural center, where eventually the curtain will hang and construction on the building’s interior will begin this winter.
Droog has been commissioned to redesign the CACAU cultural center in São Tomé. The aim is to contribute to a sustainable socio-economic infrastructure for the island’s cultural center that celebrates art, music, fashion, film and food.
Throughout the project, Droog encourages the local community to participate in the project to further forge a community home. In the coming months, construction for the redesign of the interior of CACAU will take place. Droog is currently holding a workshop on the island to realise an important element for the new interior, a 90-meter long curtain designed specifically for the center’s new look.
Under guidance of textile designer Nikkie Wester, a community of around 25 men and women living on the island are being trained to weave the substantial textile. The newly learned skills and techniques hope to inject fresh economic activities into the community, as well as support the existing island-artisan activities.
The curtain offers CACAU the possibility to divide and/or open the space according to the needs of the center. It will ultimately represent the collective identity of the community, through the stitch of each individual. The artwork is rich in personality and identity and combines visual references of São Tomé’s flora and fauna, made from local non-toxic dyes and materials found on the island (such as banana fiber and pigments from plants and minerals). A poem dear to São Tomé, written by Alda Espírito Santo will lace the bottom edge of the artwork, uniting the piece. The fundamental idea of the collaboration was to recycle and use as many local materials and waste items as possible to realize the project.
The process involves locally handmade tools and looms, with one-on-one weaving guidance by Nikkie. The men and women began with smaller looms for training, and will eventually move to 5 larger looms (working with 3 people per loom) in order to realise the full design.
The training period also involves comprehensive dying techniques, mainly using an ancient tint called indigovera tincture (Indigo). The indigo plant is native to São Tomé however there were no current applications of indigo use as a dying material. The group who will assist in dying process is made up of 5 people, from a small cooperative called Uê Tela based in São Tomé. Other colours used in the CACAU project are a very dark grey/green, green, light green, yellow and pink, which are already being produced by Uê Tela from all natural materials.
The mission of the CACAU center is to enhance and develop cultural enterprise in the community, where even the redesign intertwines this mission in the minutiae of its development. Though the completion of the build is a few months away yet, the spirit of the Center is still very much awake.
Our local man on the scene, Dário Pequeno Paraíso is providing his talents to document the process. Keep up with Droog on social media to follow the process!
all images by Dário Pequeno Paraíso
Droog is commissioned to redesign the CACAU cultural center in São Tomé. The aim is to contribute to a sustainable socio-economic infrastructure. Therefore 25 local women and men under guidance of textile designer Nikkie Wester will be trained for 4 weeks to weave and dye banana fiber.
Together they make a huge textile for the interior. After completion, they can use their newly learned skills for their own economic actvities and other projects.