Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oodi Weavers

Kamau took me early yesterday morning to Oodi Weavers, a longstanding weaving cooperative famous for its tapestries.

Oodi, Botswana, about 20 km northeast of Gaborone

The workshop at Lentswe la Oodi Weavers
Founded in the mid-70s, when Botswana was still a very young country, the coop now has 22 members, all older women, some of whom have been part of it from the beginning. One of them showed us around, demonstrating how they spin the merino wool they bring in from South Africa.

Then they dye it outdoors, dry it in the sun, and store it on shelves next to the weaving room.

Many of their tapestries depict village scenes. One like this will take about a month to complete.

Using floor looms, they also make table runners, bedspreads and other woven goods.

With no younger weavers learning to make tapestries, the cooperative's future seems uncertain. I hope they find a way forward -- much of their work is really beautiful.

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