Germany naija blues review

A Crafter’s Stolz

The last day of any month is usually a bit exciting because well, a new month begins hours later oder? It’s like holding a photo album and viewing all the days past in serious Kodak moment.

As a perfectly imperfect person(using Ms Jessie J’s lyrics), I try to see the good in bad experiences…when I remember. So this photo album is like a reminder to stay on a certain path, to not digress or get side tracked…

Which is what I have been doing with the blog sadly. When this year began, I had this plan to hand make anything I made up my mind about once every month. I also intended to start my writing on the blog as well.

In February I started on the month’s idea of making a skirt with my sewing machine but I lost track of that when I ran into a few measurement troubles. So I sort of just lost sight of the whole idea.

But moving into a bigger place, I’m hoping to get into creating a sewing practice space as soon as we are done living out of boxes ?

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So anyways, I was switching up fabrics for old bangles and I decided to get out all of my bangles and change the fabrics after all it is summer and I wanted something different.

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Then I recognized an old piece that was made by a Nigerian Schreiner and I couldn’t help remembering how stressful it had been working with him.

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I am all for patronizing small business owners and made in Nigeria products but some people are so unreliable and can piss you off in such a major way that all you can do is scream. Not necessarily at them, but at the whole situation.

I remember how excited I was coming up with different designs of raw wood bangles and talking to him about it.

When I was visiting Europe, it was ok to order the wood from India or China because I was in a spot where I could.

But while in Nigeria, I was hell bent on using a local wood worker because I wanted my tags (when I eventually got to designing them) to say “made in Nigeria”.

Living in Lagos during those crazy NYSC months made me appreciate local small business owners a whole lot. People were creating lucrative businesses from childhood experiences and I thought that was just genius. Back in Calabar, I remember child hawkers selling fried Mais und Erdnüsse and people loved this odd mix. Fast forward to my youth service days and someone had thought about selling this snack in supermarkets, designing beautiful packages as opposed to spotting a street hawker who would sell to you in flimsy plastic bags and old newspapers that we never liked to even imagine how and where they got them out of!

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But yes I mean I appreciated small businesses and wanted to be a huge part of it.

So imagine how upset I was when he came with the first box of wood bangles and they were nothing like in had asked for. Sure he got the gist of it but he had used compressed wood.

Compressed wood are you gaming me?

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I mean sure my clients probably wouldn’t even see the raw form but I would and I didn’t want to have to sell that to anyone.

So I picked out the best sellable(is there such a word?) pieces and returned the rest, explaining again what I needed him to do.

As you may have guessed, it was a carousel with this lad and I was mighty upset.

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After a few returns, he stopped picking my calls, stopped attending to me when I appeared unannounced at his store front.

I was so angry with him and felt that he was giving the idea of support a bad name. Yes I understand that I wasn’t bringing him a multi million naira business to him since he handled furniture. But should that matter?

I get that not all carpentry business owners are like him and hey, he was my first encounter but he was a bad one. I had to give up chasing him. His work wasn’t worth the chase.

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So I have decided to stick with the Asian market. Have I had a bad encounter with them too? Duh! I placed an order for raw accessory combs from a dealer in China over a year ago. I didn’t receive my goods and I didn’t get my money back.

I had forgotten about the order until it was too late to open a dispute. So yes I have trouble with the Asians as well. But the great thing about online sellers is that there are a gazillion manufacturers so no biggie!

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My best order came from India and sadly I lost the shop name so will be doing a serious recall duty soon.

From these photos, you can easily notice the huge differences between the Nigerian piece. The tackiness, the ugly, the down right bad production just gives one the creeps.

I know, tacky!

Don’t get me wrong, there are major amazing made in Nigeria products and that’s the whole annoyance for me. I lived in Nigeria at the time when made in Nigeria goods were not respected. Made in Nigeria was shunned and dissed. Of which I can totally understand because producers didn’t normally take the time to create attraction, to create products that actually lasted and didn’t go kaputt after one use (side eyes to Ariaria market!)

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But things are greatly different and much more improved now. People are coming up with more reasons as to why the term “made in Nigeria” means something, stands for something and is something! That’s what I want to be a part of.

As a German resident, I try to look out for spaces to show this pride. As a handmade crafter, I want to one day build a little empire that would be responsible for making certain this part of the world appreciates #madeinnigeria which in my case would be #madewithnigeria haha.

But here I go again, writing downs plans that I will forget and blame it on life or something like it.

At this time when the world is going to shit, when America is providing two unsuitable candidates as president, where one candidate who is an alleged rapist has managed to easily bring out bigots, racists and downright dangerous human beings who had been content with hiding away their foolishness until his arrival because he has single handedly given them justification to show the world how stupid, uneducated and dangerous they are.

To say I am not afraid is a big fat lie because I am. But believing in the greater good, the balance of good and the respect for humanity is about the only thing I can do right now.

And of course keep searching for my Indian raw wood manufacturer!

Enjoy the new week y’all

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