Photo by Princess Audu
Hello beautiful people. So, I got this idea while reading a blog post by Cassie Daves, you can read that here. Tourist behaviour will be a serial and the posts under it would be showcasing both the popular tourist destinations, as well as the low-key beautiful places that do not get enough credit and/or recognition. And kicking off tourist behaviour, is a trip to the arts and craft village, Abuja.
If you are a lover of all things African and artsy, the arts and crafts village is the place for you to be/ go. I first visited this place 7 or 8 years ago and was in and out in about 5 minutes. I made the 2nd trip some days ago with some friends from work (courtesy the ongoing strike in the country) and the 3rd trip, with my aunt and some friends the following day. I took a lot of photos (about 130, not so much) and made a few new friends and had tons of fun and made memories. Win win!
What did I see?
I bonded a monkey that was perched on a vendors shoulder (I cannot recall his name) for about a few minutes, while he was snacking on his groundnuts before he took refuge in the branches and refused to let me take anymore pictures of him. Talk about diva complex. And apparently, he is for sale too. So, if you are looking to have a pet monkey, you should head down there.
During the trip, I noticed almost everything sold was made by the people who sold them. I also got to watch some being made. The place is awesome for those who want to get authentic African, made in Nigeria products like; necklaces, bracelets, African fabric, hats, bags, shoes.
Even woodwork, like this mask I have on here. Peep the sculptures in the background. Remember learning about them in fine arts in secondary school? I also got a little lecture on the history of some of the statues sold and for free!
Paintings were available. You could either purchase already made ones or commission one. I met a few awesome artists and was privileged to watch them make beautiful art. Even though I did not hold out to the end because time was against us.
Cowries! Once upon a time, this was money. I got about a handful of these and I will be using them for something real soon. Watch out!
From beaded, to woven, to bronze, to stone, to cloth, to leather, their jewellery will get you coming back for more. Take a moment to see how beautiful they are! And all made in Nigeria!
My friend fell in love with their handmade swords. We had to drag her away from the sword stands before she made any purchases.
Photo by Princess Audu
What did I learn?
It pays to shop/work with a budget, because if I did not, my bank account would have been crying for redemption. At the end of the day, I made quite a number of purchases and they were all under N6000.
How to up my bargain game. I got 2 lion tooth necklaces from N7000 at N3000. I am the real mvp at bargaining now. I should think of becoming a personal shopper!
How to spot and differentiate between authentic and fake leather. I will not tell. Take the trip and learn from the experts themselves and while you are at it, patronise their craft!
What did I get?
I got cowries, necklaces, ilekes (waist beads) and bracelets and since I was getting quite an amount, I got them at a discounted rate. I can’t wait to style my future outfits with all these!
The bags I got are made from snakeskin, the cloths were all 100% pure cotton, and a hat woven from raffia. Time to infuse the local crafts into the modern fashion scene.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. I look forward to discovering and visiting more new places across West Africa and sharing them all with you!