A Journey into West Africa's Jewelry-Making
A Journey into West Africa's Jewelry-Making
Our journey begins with Matthieu Cheminée, teacher at Ecole de Joaillerie de Montreal, where we study. Matthieu frequently travels to West Africa with his non-profit organization, Toolbox Travel. For the last two years, we saw him travel back and forth between the two continents, each time taking four to six people to travel with him. As two travel junkies, we have been dreaming of crossing the Atlantic to discover African Jewelry techniques. All we have to do is apply and wait, with fingers crossed.
If you're reading this you guessed it! Our applications have been approved and we are leaving for Senegal in December 2019! Thanks to Toolbox Travel, we will discover and learn traditional West African jewelry-making techniques and craftsmanship through workshops with local jewelers. We will also exchange with them and contribute to their tool supply through donations.
The results will be a professional and personal fulfilment, and more specifically a collaborative jewelry collection between the both of us, inspired by the trip.
This project is way more than a simple trip. It's going to change our lives, our work and technical approach. It's also a way to acquire unique, West African methods that cannot be learned anywhere else. It will provide an added value to our academic learning, a way to get off the beaten path and to discover our future profession through a new lens.
The Toolbox Initiative,"[...] is a volunteer effort created by jewelers Matthieu Cheminée and Tim McCreight in 2014. The goal is to assist jewelers with limited resources through the collective strength of the metalworking community and to create new connections worldwide.” (http://www.toolboxinitiative.org/)
They raise funds to buy tools and materials to bring to West African jewelers. Moreover, they give aficionados, jewelers or students the possibility to travel with them. They take this opportunity to exchange with local craftsmen and to broaden their practice through Toolbox Travel (http://www.toolboxtravel.com/), the Toolbox Initiative's sister.
This is why we have taken the chance to apply at the end of 2018. It was an obvious choice for us.
The approach of The Toolbox Initiative met with ours and how we think of knowledge-sharing. It's crucial to learn from those who live the culture, without adulteration, or filtering through a Westernized lens.
On the contrary, we want to acknowledge what belongs to the African craftsmanship, without doing cultural appropriation. We are inspired by the idea of learning from those who create things of beauty with few tools.
Two friends and colleagues, both French students at Ecole de Joaillerie de Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. We just finished our second year and are ready to start our third and final year.
Iris has a degree in International Business (English and Chinese), which led her to do an academic exchange in Taïwan, then to live in French Guiana for two and a half years as an English teacher. These various experiences inspired her to move to Montreal and study jewelry-making.
Lucie graduated from college in various areas of study (from Arts to social work). She backpacked through South East Asia for six months, and was au pair in California, USA for a year. Just like Iris, these experiences brought her to Montreal to study jewelry-making.
And it is here in Montreal, brought together through their passion to create, that Iris and Lucie became friends and now will be working together on this amazing project in West Africa.
Waar dient de collecte voor
- participation fee for the trip: 2500 US$ each (around 2210 €);
This covers the minibus rental with a driver for the four participants (Iris, Lucie and the two other selected people) as well as the two founders of Toolbox Initiative and Travel, Matthieu and Tim. This fee will also include their salaries, board and lodging, and the remuneration of the local jewelers who will welcome us and host the workshop.
- flight tickets: 1000 CAD$ (around 670 €) ;
- the raw materials for the jewelry collection (sterling silver and gold): 2900 CAD$ (around 1900 €);
- the KissKissBankBank fee (8% = 400 €).
Which round up to 8000 €.
This crowdfunding project will not cover all of our expenses but it will help us a lot!
Every post, every comment, every donation (small or large) matters greatly and will help this project come true!
Please don’t hesitate to talk about the project with people around you, and share our journey on social media, because everything you do will make success possible for us! Thanks to you and your support!