“But why?”

 I like the old adage “Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder.” There is something magical about taking the everyday and making it seem special. It holds true for photography, architecture, art and even some marriages I’ve seen, but what about an ottoman and pillows?

I’ll be the first to admit, with my mom a close second, that I’ve always been interested in interior design and stuff like that. I vividly remember clipping pictures out of old Better Homes and Gardens issues and putting them in my “Dream Home” folder when I was younger, a practice now digitized to a folder on my laptop titled with the same name. And now that I have my own place (sort of) I’ve gone crazy gathering things that I think show my personality, tell the stories of my travels, and hopefully make others feel at home in my second floor apartment. Why am I talking about this? I’m half way across the world, separated from my nest by an ocean and 2 half-continents. Because I’ve found something awesome, flour sacs and cocoa bags! Yep, that’s right, flour sacs and cocoa bags. Stay with me here.

I fell in love with the crisp white, tight-knit fabric flour sacs the first time I came to Ghana and have been on the hunt for them ever since. They seem to be used for nearly everything around Ghana; baby wraps, smock linings, bread stand covers, awnings, and even sailboat sails. For some reason I feel drawn towards the blue and red of the Tema hard spring wheat flour and the warm orange of the Takoradi flour mill bags. And similar to that girlfriend I had in second grade, I knew I wanted one but didn’t know what do to with it when I finally got it. But now I do, pillows. I’m going to make pillow for my brown leather couch, and after a quick Google search I’ve filled my mind with interesting ideas. And the cocoa bag, what will its future be? Well an ottoman of course! I dream about an old reclaimed ottoman re-skinned in a Produce of Ghana, 100% Cocoa rich-smelling burlap.

And where did I find the materials for my Sistine chapel-esque masterpiece? Well the dirtiest and most hectic place ever of course, the Kejetia market in Kumasi. It’s been a while since I was actually there but it’s taken this long to recover from the chaos, smells, and traffic that rule the largest market in West Africa. I’ve heard it said that driving through Ghana is like going down the aisles of Wal-mart, which is as apt an explanation as I’ve ever heard. But going through Kejetia market is like clawing your way out of the bowels of hell through hoards of sweaty, hurried people, heads and arms pilled high with everything imaginable. A once in a lifetime experience for a reason, I never want to do it again. The responses I’ve gotten from people regarding my flour sac and cocoa bag upholstering projects have maybe been the best part of the whole deal. My favorite was simply put“but why?” I guess the beauty of reclaimed fabrics is lost on some, but it resonates well with me.