We have a wonderful collection of Zimbabwean textiles that must be seen to be believed! The women of the Shona tribe are well-known for their embroidered and crochet linens and artwork as well as their hand-painted fabrics and batiks. During colonial days girls were taught these skills at missions and in schools and were assisted in forming cooperatives to produce and market their handiwork. Today throughout Zimbabwe you will see these cooperative groups of women in the rural areas as well as in the cities working on and displaying their embroidery and crochet work for sale to locals and tourists alike.
Our embroidered wallhangings and linens are made by two Shona women, Florence and Patience, who live outside of Harare in the province of Mashonaland, in Zimbabwe. Patience (pictured below on the right) is 35 years old and has 4 children, one infant and three who are away at school in the rural area. Her husband died last year of what we believe to have been AIDS. Florence (pictured below on the left) is married with one daughter who is also away at school. Patience and Florence both work as domestics in the home of a well-known Zimbabwean artist. Florence's husband, who is also learning to do embroidered artwork and who provided us with many of the wire and metal sculptures that can be found in our store, works as the gardener in the same home.
We also have some beautiful Kuba Cloth, which is the only African handicraft we have that is not originally from Zimbabwe. Although we did purchase it in Zimbabwe, Kuba Cloth is actually from Zaire in central Africa. Neverthless, it is, in and of itself, an exquisite example of African art, and a worthy addition to our collection.