[apparently it costs 1 billion CFA to replace those stolen telephone/internet wires. which means it isn’t happening soon (if ever?) and I am without high speed internet until who knows when. in any case I’m tired of waiting and will try uploading this post written a few weeks ago with a very slow (borrowed) internet key (thank you Brownie!). if you can read this, it works, albeit it will have taken maybe 3 hours to post… This post has been ready since Jan 19th, if that gives you an idea of how long I’ve been waiting for the internet to come back.]
The ocean. Something about it just turns me back into a six year old.
Here is John Mark’s motorcycle. Since it doesn’t make much sense to ship an old motorcycle from China to Iowa he decided to sell it to someone in Ouidah. But before he did that, we went to the beach bright and early for our last photo shoot.
A harmattan haze, the ocean, the beach, a sunrise – had to get it done before he left for good. Afterwards I’ll need to find a new photographer.
So let’s start walking toward the ocean.
Get close… but not too close.
Or else you’ll have to run quickly away (and do your best at making a terrified face) because the waves here are vicious and will catch you off guard if you stray too close.
Oh yes, the dress! I’m still working for the December 2012 issue of BurdaStyle. The directions didn’t make much sense in French. So I downloaded the instructions in English. They still didn’t make sense. For example, for the inset at the top there is no mention of it in the instructions. So In the end I just used common sense to put this dress together. I like alternating between well explained patterns (Colette) and not very well explained patterns (Burda) as the former helps me build up my skills for when I’m very confused by the latter.
Look as my bias tape hem! That might be my favorite way of hemming things.
At the beach one often finds litter. However it isn’t always trash. For certain voodoo ceremonies it requires an offering that is thrown into the ocean, so it’s not surprising to find broken calabashes or entire papayas along the shore.
See. Papayas and a packet of cookies just laying randomly around. I told you so. I think they’re called gri-gris.
Sometimes I find myself running out of things to say about my outfits. Like right now. It closes with an invisible side zipper. I used red bazin for the contrast. I split the front skirt panel pieces in two to make it work for my contrast idea. It fits well and I like how it looks. What is there left to say? Perhaps I’m not a very good sewing blogger. I just really like the photo shoots and the results that come from them. Perhaps when I’m a better sewer I’ll have more to write about the process.
One thing I noticed, but didn’t really realize, is that there are no tides here. At 6AM it looks the same as 10AM and as 1PM and as 4PM and at… etc. It has to do with being nearer to the equator. I think that is why there are no seabirds to be found here. There’s no low tide for them to come and search out food. I complained about them a lot when I was at Ile de Re… but here the waves are the only dominant sounds. I do miss the squawking I usually associate with the ocean.
I can hold the sun in my hands, and it’s all because of this dress.
Let’s deviate from the dress and talk more hair. Specifically more hair flip. Here we have a non posed hair flip. The momentum of running creates this type naturally.
Here we have the diagonal hair flip.
Here is the horizontal hair flip.
Sadly it is blurry but here is the 180 degree hair flip. A complete arc/half circle is created with the head.
And my personal favorite: the run toward a boat and look back over the shoulder hair flip.
I can’t stop admiring it. Volume. Waves. Curls. Ripples. Face still visible. Fullness.
Here at the beach you can also find abandoned hotels that were never completed. Fishing boats off in the distance to catch fish. (No industrial fishing here!)
There’s also a monument that celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ouidah. But the real appeal is the giant silhouette of Benin where one can pose in dresses made by oneself.
What’s this over there?
A very charred building.
Burnt? Who knows. If anybody wants to restore an old/abandoned/unfinished beachside building, Ouidah has lots to choose from.
Oh hey hey, it’s John Mark! The photographer also happens to be a model too. If anyone is looking for a fashion model in the Des Moines area have I got the man for you.
He’s also a great interpretive dancer.
Back sweat. Proof that posing is hard physical work! Actually just standing around and doing nothing will also make you sweat this this. Welcome to hot and humid Ouidah.
Can one resist a “hanging off a bridge railing with a sunset and a lagoon behind you” photo? Didn’t think so.
Aaaaaaaaaaand bonus outfit photos! Say hello and thanks to Tata Ines.
She’s the host of a very popular children’s show here in Benin and she decided to do a segment on CIAMO’s art and music programs.
I had a 20 minute notice that she was on her way. Good thing I was wearing something nice! There’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be wearing a t-shirt and a random skirt.
More importantly, good thing I had a lesson well prepared and was able to modify it to make it work for the production style of filming a tv show.
The photos don’t show how awkward I am when asked to speak on camera. Here I look smooth, but if ever you can find this episode you’ll see my true awkwardness.
Pattern: BurdaStyle December 2012 Dress #130
Fabric: Jasco J1541, Ghalila Bazin
Outfit Photos: John Mark F.