Laundry balconies in Kenya have many uses. Clearly the sink and tile lend itself to messy projects. Today’s project involved small clay pots and devising a way to make watercolors paint them. While you will eventually read about the amazing journey into the moment that we met the Master Potter, Ibrahim, at the local potter’s place, today the story is not finished and you will not be reading it.
What you will read today, however, is the journey of eleven of his small clay pots, with various imperfections, from his “showroom” to my laundry balcony. You see, the kids at the apartment complex have come to expect creative projects. I visited Ibrahim’s little pottery showroom in the Lenana field behind us on a reconnaissance mission for my neighbor Lucy and myself to find cheap herb pots for our balconies.
As I did in Colorado, I want here in Nairobi to plant some herbs and vegetables in clay pots, but I do NOT want to pay the white tourist price for these local painted clay pots sold along Ngong Road where we live. They are beautiful but I think I can do an equally good job for like 100th the price! I’ve learned a few lessons since I’ve been here, thank you, and one is that while my ‘white’ skin is a benefit at times (the Maasai birthday party this week for example), it is a detriment in others (getting a decent price on items). You will not yet be reading the Race Relations piece today. J Clay pots….
I found all kinds of lovely clay pots, many shapes and sizes, and reasonable prices. Mission accomplished, but as I got ready to leave, my eye caught the cutest small pots. I struck up a conversation with Mary the proprietor and she agreed to sell me some of the small pots with imperfections for just a few cents each. I think I spent $1.50 USD for eleven handmade clay pots. I spent a number of days looking for proper paints but came up totally empty. I have a business idea brewing about home improvement, but no paints for the pots. I grabbed a cheap kids water color set with one brush and thought I’d give it a go. So now, we’ve got this:
The kids have been checking in daily with such great anticipation since discovering I had found clay pots for a possible project! Today Perry, younger sister Kelly, friend Khoboso and friend Paula artfully persuaded me to try the water colors with their help. Here is what transpired from our experiment with clay pots and cheap water colors:
Kinda befitting considering the colors we chose on the pots. Incidentally, late at night with this posting, I still have my paints on my face!