Bringing Light to Embroidery in Nigeria

Our ladies are stopping their work at sundown, Hassana explained, because they can’t see to embroider on black cloth at night. They don't have lights. 

These are the same women of the Queen Amina Embroidery Center in Nigeria who made the stunning ali4ibu caftan last spring - richly embroidered on white. You loved it.  Who knew that the change of fabric color could throw off their game?

We asked Hassana to search out the appropriate lights in the Lagos markets - she came back with the cheap alternative that they already knew broke down quickly - and a sturdier option. Ibu footed the bill and sprung for the light that lasts. How could you not?

Last Sunday, we received a short video from Hassana’s phone. The women are receiving their lights like the gift of sunrise and their voices cheer: Thank you, Jamie! Thank you Susan! Thank you IBUMOVEMENT!

Then we received a sample.  Since last year, we have adjusted the fit, instructed the ladies on how to complete an inset sleeve, and collaborated with Hassana on the design for the embroidery.  It all goes back to their traditional thread work on a man’s ceremonial robe, a Babban Riga. The result: a perfect summer evening caftan that stands alone. We went wild for it. Take me to a moon-lit beach!

From the homes of Hassana and her group come a new light, deep into the night, glowing around the faces and hands of women stitching up hope and beauty and their daughter’s next year at school. Hearing their video just flips my switch.

All the Best,

Susan Hull Walker

The Queen Amina Embroidery Center showing their new reading lamps --  listen to the sound of light.