March 3, 2010

from scratch

Two and a half years ago when I arrived in Kenya, I had only a few things in a bag. I honestly did not know much about the crafts and beautiful things I could find in Nairobi, but after a few visits with my friends from Costa Rica to the maasai market I decided to buy this sisal bag to carry all my things.
At the beginning I liked it just plain but then I realized that there was so much more I could do with it.... and that how a fascination with these bags began.

First I crocheted two hydrangeas (or that was my intention) with some pima cotton I had with me and a #2 crochet needle. Then I made a blanket stitch all around the edge of the bag and attached the flowers with the same yarn.

Masai Mara. Kenya

I carried this bag everywhere I went in Nairobi, took it with me to Masai Mara the first time I went, to the beach.... and I still have it here with me in Bolivia. It brings me good memories from a far away land.
After some time I had the idea of also adding beads to the flowers. Glass beads that I had purchased at the market and also some beads that I had collected in my trips to Ethiopia and New York. The bags looked so nice and with a different edge after I crocheted the beads into the string hanging from the flower. To other bags I added flowers and leaves, used linen yarn, alpaca yarn, among other materials I had in my stock at my workshop on Ngecha Road in Nairobi.

Flowers here are a heather pink and gold with celery green leaves, on a chocolate sisal basket. I loved this one and was one of the first to go. I used a thick needle to make the flowers and a #3 needle for the leaves.

This was the first bag I made with recycled glass beads. Sky blue flowers and strings with blue beads. Chocolate sisal bag.

This rings were one of my favorites!!!!! I made them with rings I had from Bolivia and with navy, gold and ecru pima cotton. It looked fantastic!!! Ivory sisal bag.

My daisies!!!! To my surprise were more time consuming than the other flowers but the result was beautiful! Chocolate sisal bag.

Heather lavender and ecru with beads from Ethiopia. Charcoal sisal bag.

Raffia striped beads from a tiny bead shop in New York with linen yarn flowers, on a dark brown sisal bag.

When I left Kenya last year I brought with me bags and sisal buckets with the intention to keep working on them here. Unfortunately, time has been very limited this past six months as I have been designing and manufacturing a women's line that was for sale in Kenya last November, as well as the fall-winter 2010/11 Fournier collection and my private label contracts. I hope that next week when we finish shipping all our spring orders I can finally sit and play with all my sisal stock to make it look as wonderful as I did while in Africa. Keep on checking for updates as I further develop and innovate in my accessories line.
Read more here and here.

Photography: all by me.


  1. Lovely to see the constant variations on such a simple theme.

  2. yes! the canvas is perfect to let your imagination and crochet skills fly :-)

  3. you are extremely talented and those of us who have the good fotune to be close to you are witness of the creative force you are!

  4. Hello!
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! Yes, I`m using those shades of purple to make some new blooms.
    What a beautiful work you make! And I love the blog, I`ll come back for more!
    Have a wonderful day :)

  5. Hello, thanks for visiting me! Your work is so beautiful, you are very talented!! I love the daisies, and the beads are great too :-)
    I'll be back!
    Cheers, Karen

  6. very pretty. beautiful work!!

  7. Wow, the bags are beautiful and the way you've 'added' to them is so creative and lovely. Well done!

  8. These bags are so lovely! I got one for me at the Venerable Bead in Nairobi. So glad to see who is behind such a lovely product. Congratulations! Love from Kenya, Evelyne


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