On a recent road trip through southern Zambia, I had the privilege of meeting the incredible weaving duo, the grandmother/grandson team of Margaret and Obey. Together they produce some of the finest woven wares I have see, and I was honoured to spend time in their home, watching them weave under the shade of a musikili tree. It was two of the best hours I've spent recently; watching their obvious love and respect for each other, their joy in spending time together, weaving and creating objects of beauty.
In Zambia, it is rare to meet a man who weaves - Obey credits his grandmother Margaret for teaching him everything he knows; "She taught me from a small boy how to weave, and I just didn't stop," says Obey. His sheer creative talent combined with this intergenerational sharing of skills means that Obey has worked on international training programs for refugees, training them in artisan basket weaving skills to help them develop a source of income.
It's a beautiful and concrete example of the power of supporting indigenous artisans through choosing handcrafted goods; Margaret and Obey work together to make a considered and dignified living for their family, while using traditional skills and sustainable fibres and doing something they love. Obey's wife is also learning to weave to contribute to the family's success.
Their children are happy, fed, educated; no mean feat in a country where unemployment runs high. Obey is ambitious, and wants nothing more than encourage and teach others in the skill of artisan basket weaving. "It is better to make and sell a basket, than to cut down a tree and make charcoal, so I want to start lessons to teach others". Supporting artisans like Margaret & Obey is pivotal to Coastal Drift's ethos and we're proud to partner with this beautiful weaving family.