Our Talking Hands [Ghana]
[Image credits: Cushion Covers – Our Talking Hands]
A couple of weeks ago the view from the window was one of brilliant white following the snow that fell across much of the UK. A pretty picture-perfect landscape at first soon started to get a bit monotonous and I found myself subconsciously drawn to colour, pattern, and texture in the form of cushions covers from Our Talking Hands. From brightly coloured Kente strips to vibrant, clashing batik and wax cloth patterns it took me from one extreme to another, providing a colourful pick-me-up. I am more familiar with the Ashanti pattern style of Kente cloth than I am of the Ewe, which is the weaving style used here and is characterised by colourful stripes.
Kente is traditionally handwoven in narrow strips, and then stitched together as these have been, to form the cushion covers. The backs of some of the cushions feature another style of Kente weaving, which results in a tweed effect. The cushions would be great for brightening up patio and lounge furniture, they give a relaxing holiday vibe; and if you find the batik and wax cloth patterns in particular, too busy in one grouping, simply pick out a complementary colour from the palette and find some matching solid colour cushion covers to interspace and balance things out. The cushions covers are handmade by the vocational students of the Volta School for the Deaf in Hohoe, Ghana, and the name chosen for the project- Our Talking Hands- refers not only to the handmade nature of the products but also to the art and necessity of communicating through signage language.
Our Talking Hands was founded by Promise Navina Mensah; and Scott Anderson, a Peace Corps volunteer on a long-term teaching placement at the Volta School for the Deaf. The cushion covers are just one part of a range of products made by the students, aided by a school mentor who is helping to develop the skills of the tailors and seamstresses at the school. Other products produced include quilts, wall hangings, scarves, aprons, purses, and backpacks. Proceeds from the sale of the products go towards the development of the Volta School for the Deaf.