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Up Close & Indego

#new, #inspiration, #handmade, #impact

Our Blog

#collaboration, #indegodiaries, #art

Indego Africa x Framebridge – Custom Framed Prints for your Home!

At Indego Africa, we are endlessly inspired by the bright colors, beautiful landscapes, and whimsical designs of Africa. We teamed up with Framebridge, our favorite custom framing company, to bring pieces of our travels to you and your home!

Our new Indego Africa x Framebridge collection features framed prints, shot by our Brand Manager, Brittany Barb, that capture the sights, colors, people, and positive vibes of our some of our favorite spots in Rwanda & Ghana. It also includes specialty embroidered artwork, handmade with heart by the artisans of the Ibaba Cooperative in Rwanda!

Our Creative Director, Deirdre King, chatted with the founders of Framebridge about the collection, her inspiration, and Indego Africa’s long-term partnerships with artisans in Rwanda & Ghana. See excerpts from the interview below and shop the collection here!

How did you start working with Framebridge?

We first launched our embroidered art a couple of years ago and handled the framing ourselves. It was expensive, complicated and required an expertise we just didn’t have. After a few months we decided we could only sell in person due to the challenges we were facing, so our pieces were hidden from our growing online customer base. So when we decided it was time to add our beautiful photography to our line and revisit the embroidered art, we knew we needed to launch with a partner who could manage the framing side of things. Naturally we thought of Framebridge, which provides a top-notch service with accessible pricing and a great aesthetic and voice. We reached out and were thrilled they were interested in partnering—it seemed like a match made in heaven! 

What sort of framed art will you sell in your print shop?

Our Brand Manager, Brittany Barb, is also our staff photographer and she is supremely talented (just take a look at her work on our Instagram and website). During her annual trips to our partner countries she captures beautiful imagery of landscapes, artisans, nature, culture and day-to-day snapshots of life. These photos are not only gorgeous, but they give a glimpse into the inherent beauty of both Ghana and Rwanda, as well as that of the beautiful people who live there. 

We will also be selling specialty art pieces, hand-embroidered by women at one of our partner groups in Rwanda, Ibaba. These pieces are delicately embroidered on Belgian linen and, when framed and mounted, truly showcase the intricate handiwork of these remarkable women. We are launching with a whimsical, sequined flamingo piece—who can say no to that?

Any favorite pieces?

I’m obsessed with them all. I moved a few months ago and basically decorated my whole space based on where I could hang these pieces. If I had to choose, I would pick one of the Ghana landscapes. I have our Sea Tones piece hanging in my son’s nursery. It has a cool beach vibe and gives new life to his hand-me-down furniture from his sister!

Full interview available here.

To shop the Indego x Framebridge collection, and bring new inspiration to your home, click here! 

#collaboration, #forthebabes, #handmade

Baskets #ForTheBabes!

Our brand-new baby bassinets were handmade in collaboration with Design Dua—a design company that employs rural artisan women in the north of Ghana. We teamed up to create an exclusive collection of baskets, handwoven out of elephant grass and accented with pink or white leather handles. Designed with your little one in mind, these baskets are perfect for rest or for play and help support artisans in northern Ghana!

Design Dua was founded by Coretta Owusu, a lawyer and entrepreneur with a passion for design, creativity, and social change. Coretta grew up in the United States but often traveled to Ghana to visit relatives. After graduating from college, she decided to move to Ghana and, while living there, found herself continuously inspired by the local crafts and artisan techniques she encountered.

Coretta moved back to the U.S. to attend law school but knew that her ultimate goal was to create businesses that would help drive growth in Ghana. In 2015, after launching several new enterprises in Ghana’s hospitality and travel industries, Coretta channeled her passion for design to start Design Dua. Her mission? To inspire modern families to incorporate African-inspired products into their homes and everyday lives.

Design Dua works with artisan weavers in Ghana’s northern Bolgatanga region to help them earn fair income for their beautiful artistry. When she first started, Coretta found that many of the basket weavers were not keeping track of their raw material expenses and were selling their baskets at cost without even realizing it. This practice left many women caught within a static cycle—they were unable to move forward, earn sustainable income, or build up their own businesses.

Design Dua addresses these issues by covering the cost of raw materials for the artisans and paying them fair wages for their work. Like Indego, Design Dua emphasizes teaching its partners to understand quality control, product standards, and basic business practices—skills that helps artisans become equal players in the global economy.

Coretta reached out to Indego Africa earlier this year after seeing our collaboration with Ghanaian accessories brand, A.A.K.S. Coretta was drawn to Indego’s blend of modern designs with traditional techniques, as well as our emphasis on social impact and education. 

When we asked Coretta what inspired her in her design process and day-to-day work, she said:

“I love working in Ghana and supporting marginalized women who haven’t had access to the same opportunities  as I have. These products show that Ghana has something to offer. While we may not be considered a destination for manufacturing, we have amazing crafts and artisan-made products. It inspires me to be able to put Ghana on the map through products that are high-quality, well-designed, and have a great story behind them. I try to come up with creative designs that are useful, not just  decorative, and that people can incorporate into their everyday lives.” 

We share Coretta’s mission and inspiration and are excited to launch our collaborative collection of baby bassinets, which reflect our shared love of beautifully handmade products, elegant design, empowering women and, of course, all things baby & kids! To shop and learn more about the products, click here

#handmade, #ghana

Introducing Mudcloth Poufs!

We are so excited to announce our newest piece of decor, handmade with heart for your home! Our brand-new ottoman poufs are upholstered using indigo mudcloth, hand-dyed in Mali & sourced in Kumasi, Ghana.

Mudcloth, or bògòlanfini in Mali’s Bambara language, is a traditional Malian and West African textile that is typically made with—you guessed it—mud. The process begins with narrow strips of cloth which are dyed in baths of leaves or bark and left in the sun to dry. Once they’re dry, the cloths are painted with fermented mud and sewn together to create intricate patterns and symbols, all with different stories, myths, and meanings behind them.

 

We love the beautifully rustic look of this West African textile, so when we expanded to Ghana, we knew we needed to add mudcloth to our line! We teamed up with a local businessman named Alhaji to help us source the fabric.

Alhaji was born in Ghana but his ancestors came from Mali. As a child, he used to travel back and forth to visit his relatives and he loved to watch them make traditional mudcloths. When he grew up, he thought there might be a market for these textiles in Ghana and began to bring them to local craft fairs to see how they did. People loved them. 

Alhaji began traveling back to Mali more regularly to buy mudcloth and eventually built a relationship with an artisan group there. When we met with him, Alhaji was excited about the opportunity to create a more consistent market for their products and the artisans were happy to work with us on custom colors and designs. 

We started by carrying indigo mudcloth on our line as a tapestry and now are using it to upholster poufs and pillows, with more items to come! We love the unique story behind this product and the significance it holds as a symbol of Malian and West African culture and history. Plus, we love supporting this time-honored technique, which is 100 percent natural and eco-friendly from start to finish!

To shop our upholstered mudcloth poufs, and bring a touch of West African design to your home, click here.