The verandah of our home in Tanzania opened out into a garden, lush with tropical plants. I spent most of my time there. You see, I had converted that space into my studio and dining and sitting area. I lit anti-mosquito ‘kachua-chaap’ coils and painted, read, ate, and lectured my children there! There is a catch in my heart even as I think about the place!
I also loved the fact that there were beaches I could go to anytime I wished and, of course, to the rich wildlife reserves everywhere ! Every time I stepped out of our house, there was something that always stood out- the sight of the beautiful, ebony skinned women in their brilliantly coloured, un-stitched garments- the ‘kanga’. I bought many kangas, tried to copy the style of the women- not too successfully, but wore them anyway, used them as table covers and on the ceiling(I wish I had taken pictures!).
Among what I proudly owned was also an appliqued bed spread made by an enterprising group of women. It is my most favorite African fabric. To me it almost encapsulates Africa ! I had based a series of paintings on this appliqued piece.(Just for an idea of these paintings click here-and scroll down to the ‘Africa’ section) Here it is- is it not gorgeous ?
Now, far way, in another corner of the world, Ireland, this piece beckoned ! Time I put it on my table to relive my memories of Africa ! What else did I have from Africa ? I raided my shelves and tables and got some fabulous dried,etched gourds, a few ebony sculptures and ‘Tinga Tinga’ painted steel glasses-I’ll never be able to pick a favourite among these African crafts–I love them all !
And then right outside, in our garden, something equally vibrant- to match my fabric-was ready to lend itself to our table- the Vancouver Gold shrub–simply bursting with tiny, bright yellow flowers ! There were just so many that a few stems cut and taken made not the slightest difference -so, you know, no guilt ! Just look at the profusion-
And so I arranged my building blocks on my table- for a tea . Alright-so it was not going to be Delicate- Pink-White tea table– but so what– this would be Vibrant -Strong-African Tea Table ! Here is a beautifully etched gourd-
And I added crockery. I was a little tired of using government crockery. My one and a half sets are lying in unopened boxes- when I remember them-I say a little prayer-God,keep them intact ! So I borrowed this set from Josephine, our housekeeper. This was a clever, clever charity shop find- yes, 16 pieces of crockery for Euro 3 ! You know what they say about one man’s trash becoming another’s treasure !
A few of you asked me and I checked-Fabindia does have an online shop with some of their fabulous products (Prices are in rupees but can be converted)- see here.
I know you are wondering what the green liquid in the glasses is ! Well, it is khus sherbet- vetiver grass sherbet, commonly consumed in India as an Ayurvedic/Unani cooling drink-fabulous with a squeeze of lemon. Many Indian grocery shops would stock this drink. If you haven’t tried it–give it a go ! I served it not only because it is refreshing and different but -you may have guessed it- it matches my composition !
To see other tablescapes on my blog click here.
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I have linked this post to : Between Naps on the Porch,
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