Here's the thing, I've come across atleast three exhibitions where body confidence and beauty were the subject matter. Somehow they awakened some of the personal experience of body confidence I encountered in my younger years. This issue of body confidence, is what attracted me to all things imperfect, which I've come to love and led me to my craft. Now, I deliberately sought out imperfect things in life just to examine its intrinsic beauty and have discovered some amazing things along the way.
Being 5 ft 10.5 inches tall at a time when being tall wasn't as common as it is today and being slim, when being voluptuous was the order of the day, was no joke. I got my fair share of tall remarks, but being smart-mouthed, I gave as good as I got.
Another thing that got me unwanted attention was the shape of my head, to the point where a friend once remarked that she could find me easily in a crowd because of the special shape of my head. I took her comment as a compliment, but the young me, may have thought otherwise. This is purely because as an adult, I'd experienced so much in life that having a head, any head at all, was a huge blessing!
Despite my body confidence experience, I've never allowed anyone to put me down for how I look, because I know I have no control over the features God chose to give me. Infact, anytime someone made a remark about the shape of my head I often gave them a smart remark saying 'only smart people are blessed with features like mine!'. Little did I know that the Mangbetu people from the Democratic Republic of Congo actually lived by this principle as they practiced the art of skull elongation. To the untrained eye, the elongated skull looks like a major skull deformity but to the Mangbetu people, it represents higher intelligence, beauty and is seen as a status symbol among the ruling class. Imagine that! A head shaped for royalty! Discovering the Mangbetu tribe is a refreshing find.
In today's society, it is fair to say, there is a certain standard which is associated with beauty and if an individual doesn't fall into those standards of beauty, then 'Houston we've got a problem!' So, imagine my joy when I came across a beautiful exhibition on the Mangbetu people by artist Eddy Kamuanga llunga. I first came across his work in 2016 when he exhibited at October gallery in London. Other people may have recently discovered him as he exhibited again at the same gallery a few months ago. You can find his work on my blog post for 04/08/16. Basically his illustrations brought out the beauty of this tribe and made me grateful for every part of my body.
The bottom-line is this, beauty is how you see it and if anyone has a problem with your definition of beauty, that is their problem, not yours. I've posted a picture below of me loving my 'God-given' head. I must stress that like everyone else, I still have the odd days when I wrestle with 'SELF', but who doesn't! The key thing is to accept one's self as no one will do it for you.
Often wondered why talking about Christianity is frowned upon in the world today when other subjects are open for discussion. As a Christian, I find there is a misconception where people assume that you're boring, a social retard or don't know how to have fun, just because you're a christian. This has been my experience and my fellow Christian friends have experienced the same things. Infact, it's a regular occurrence and people often look surprised when they know I'm a normal human being! To mention the name of Jesus in public, is like committing career or social suicide, what follows is social exclusion as you get excluded purely for your faith and what you represent.
The funny thing is, that the Christian faith is a lifestyle which you live by. It's what enables us to navigate and overcome the good, the bad or ugly things life throws at us. It's our coping and survival mechanism. Without faith in Christ, we can do nothing, but through faith in Christ, we can do all things. So you see, being a Christian is not something to be afraid of. It's something to be embraced, as contrary to public opinion, no Christian is perfect. The reason why I and other fellow Christians follow Jesus Christ is because, at one point-in-time in our lives, we realised we weren't perfect and became Christians so that we can learn how to live in a better way. It's that simple!
Being a Christian won't stop you from enjoying the best things in life, but it won't stop you from experiencing hardships either. Just remember that Christianity is a lifestyle and the next time a Christian offends you, don't be quick to blame their faith. It's never the faith that causes the problems, it's our fragile humanistic nature which we struggle with, that is to blame. We as individuals and as a Christian collective, are aware of that. We never blame someone's healthy lifestyle for their actions, so why blame someone's faith? Likewise, it's okay to like or be friends with Christians because their lifestyle won't steer you in the wrong direction if their hearts are truly serving Christ. Why? Simply because Christ is all about love. So how can you hate when your lifestyle is all about love?
To round this up, thought I'd highlight some well known Christians both past and present who have achieved success in their chosen fields and were known for being followers of Christ. Feel free to look them up! They are:
Last week I got an invite to attend the private view of Crossing Borders Textiles Exhibition at Espacio Gallery. One of the highlights of the exhibition was Suzie Tucker's 'Poverty Maps' which was inspired by the famous 'Poverty Maps' of Victorian London. It will certainly grab your attention. She looked at an era where buildings were colour-coded based on income and social class. Her work somewhat reminds us that inequality still exists in the 21st century.
Also saw works from other artists like Rosemary Chapman who I had the pleasure to talk to. I have posted some pictures below. If you'd like to see the exhibition, it ends on the 1st of July 2018. Basically, you've got one more day to see it. Enjoy!
Was delighted to see the pressing time exhibition, showing work from Ten artist printmakers at R K Gallery in London. One of the artist was my friend Patricia Gaudron, so it was a really special moment to see her work! Here's some pictures from the exhibition:
The third and final part of my Bible restoration project...
When they say something's sucked the living life out of you and drained you till you're devoid of emotion, this unfruitful online business of mine is definitely it. I spent a decade horning-in on my craft and spent 4yrs running an online business that's only yielded few sales with a great amount of 'Likes'. Meaning, people like the products but it's not translating into sales.
In that time, I spent countless amount of money building the business and at the end of the day, have nothing to show for it. So, I sought advice as usual from my father and on his wise counsel, I decided to close down the business.
I will still take-on commissions as I seem to get more work offline than online and have repeat customers offline too. I will also keep writing my blog as it's my creative outlet and even if I don't make crafts to sell, I won't stop crafting, as it's an extension of who I am.
I just had to face some home truths about running an online business and realised that I no longer have the energy to pour money down the drain. Especially in the days of algorithms.
I have given this business my all and it has taken a decade of back-breaking work that has yielded no fruit, so like my father said, 'A business that's not yielding profit is no business at all' and on that note, I've decided to take a break to re-evaluate things.
As I write this, I feel somewhat excited and free at the prospects of spending more time crafting just for leisure. This is by no means the end of my business escapades, as I'm not one to give up on things. Actually, I'm like a dog with a bone and this time, I must simply let go of this bone, for there are other bones I can surely chew on.
So, as I take a hiatus from selling online, you can still contact me through the links below:
You can also find me on my You tube channel by clicking the You Tube Channel Icon on the top right corner of the website above.
Please note: Kemiwestdesigns.com will no longer be active from 30 June, 2018.
As they say, it's not good bye, it's see you later. Stay blessed and well loved! Kemi xx
Here's the second part of my Bible restoration project...
Couldn't help myself when I saw this over-used Bible on a recent visit to see a loved one. I just knew I had to restore it back to its lustre form. Will post my working progress and the outcome on completion of the project. I had fun doing it and look forward to doing more projects like these in future.
For me, the definition of wealth is subjective. When I think of wealth, I don't instinctively think of money, abundance or opulence. Instead, I think of the things I deem valuable, the simple, imperfect things in life that's often ignored. These are the things that puts a smile on my face and enriches my life and that, is what I call wealth. For this reason, the quote below echoes my sentiments exactly, as we all have something we hold dear, which may not mean much to others, but has great sentimental value to us.
Long before I started working for myself, I worked full-time in a non-creative role. When I started the business, I decided to continue working full-time as I knew it would take some time for the business to grow. Aside from this, I realised that the business may not necessarily generate regular stream of income like my day job and I needed the regular income to pay the bills. It's simple, paid bills leads to a clear head and having a clear head gives me the freedom to create.
Living in London, means seeing almost three-fourth of your income go towards rent, so it's safe to say, having a day job makes good business sense for a small craft business like mine. Even when I make little to no sales, I am still able to create work I enjoy and not create work just for the sake of making money. In the process of creating work I enjoy, I've had some work commissioned which ended up being more rewarding than the crafts I made to sell.
My decision to be self-employed and have a full-time day job, is by no means unique to me, as most of the self-employed people I know do exactly the same. Without the privilege of a day job, I don't think I would have been able to set-up a business, let alone run and maintain one.
I have learnt through my day job the art of self-discipline, as no matter what happens, whether good or bad, I must show up and deliver the job I am paid to do. It means even when I've had a busy week crafting back to back, attending workshops and fulfilling orders, I still have to be on my utmost best when I turn up for work, no matter how tired I am.
I have also adapted the discipline I gleaned from my day job to my craft making, as it has helped me immensely, especially when working to strict deadlines. Personally, I find that it is a necessity to have a day job until the business grows and one is in a position to give up the day job.
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Welcome to my blog, where I share things that inspire me. My faith, nature and the simple or imperfect things in life, are what brings me joy and inspire me to create. I look forward to sharing my inspirations with you. Thanks for stopping by!