“To practice knowledge of self and know the mundane as magic, is gratitude,” says JANE ODARTEY, the Ghanaian designer whose knitting and crochet collections are easily some of the most inventive handmade art out there in WebLand. With no background in design and only passion driving her forward, Jane taught herself to crochet and knit. Also an M.A. student of Literature, Jane takes photos of herself, often in her Queens, N.Y. apartment, then edits in Photoshop and posts her work online.
With Mawusi, Jane shows off beautiful, ghostly golden photos of her creations. Chunky, warm and inviting pieces that are as comforting as your grandma’s hands or a hot bowl of groundnut soup. Jane details, “I designed and made the pieces, modelled, and shot them. This is not because I am a control freak and don’t like to work with people, it is because I work on a shoe-string budget and I am something of an introvert. But I love what I do.”
Mawusi’s latest collection, Sane Momo (Old Concern), experiments with texture, color and form in lovely ways. Jane Odartey shares more on Sane Momo and why granny squares never get old:
Sane Momo embodies not just the past, but the present and future. How so? Well, simply put, it’s similar to ‘TBT,’ or ‘Throwback Thursday,’ as we happily hashtag on social media.
The major inspiration for Mawusi FW ‘15 is our nostalgia for the past. It is not just in social media, it is in our daily speech, literature, movies, music, you name it.
For those of us who have not so pleasant pasts, we look back with some weariness, and less enthusiasm. But even so, there is always a sort of congratulatory feeling for having survived. The positive aspect of this is motivation and inspiration to recreate good moments. Yet Mawusi’s concern is how to incite enthusiasm for daily living and is, therefore, interested in the present.
The challenge for this collection was merging the positive merits we extract from looking to the past with a need for the present. We want to reduce nostalgia for that which is gone and propel excitement for the here and now. Which when successfully attained induces hope and encouragement toward the future.
The answer presented itself in the form of the granny square. My research showed that many of us associate a sense of comfort with the granny square pattern. This is not surprising seeing as granny squares embody the old and comfortable —— just like the sweet and kind grandmother who baked wonderful treats and listened to all our problems. Having found my pattern, the next challenge was making the squares contemporary, playful, and exciting to suit the Mawusi individual.
And this is where my Ghanaian heritage came into play. The average Ghanaian’s sense of fashion is incredibly colorful, festive, and wonderfully eclectic. And with these inspirations, Mawusi FW ’15: Sane Momo is my effort to inject the comforts of the past into the present and encourage a state of presence,comfort and confidence to live in the now.
By creating cozy, natural materials, playfully designed and handmade in bursts of beautiful colors, I provide loving warmth to chase away the cold and instill good cheers!