These photos were taken in the 1950s by my husband's father. He lived in Africa with his young family and some of his work involved travelling around the rural communities. These women are from a different time and culture, but as a potter I feel a connection to them. The potter in me wants to know how they fired these pots and where they took the clay from. I would like to sit beside them so they could show me what they know. In only these few pictures we can see their skill and knowledge, accumulated over generations, bound up in these simple but beautiful vessels.
Have you ever wondered how little of practical worth is handed down to us these days? In our throw away culture we buy electrical goods and cups and plates and clothes that are cheap and if they break, they are thrown away and we buy some more. Noone fixes cars or radios any more. We take it for granted that our toilets flush and that we can turn on lights when it gets dark. It unnerves me how interdependent we are and how little we can do for ourselves. It feels dangerous.
All this is at the root of my need to be able to mend things that are broken, to navigate by the stars, and to be able to make things with my own hands. Isn't it by doing these things that we can appreciate our place in the world and the importance of its resources?