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Coffee sacks ….

April 10, 2019

While I was print making, I discovered that the light faded pretty soon after lunch. So, I tried doing other things that didn’t require such intense light. Then I remember the sacks I had seen in Rio.

My daughter lives in Rio de Janeiro and we have been visiting her annually for 9 years.  For most of that time she has lived in a favela among 100,000s of key city workers.  While she does now live in a more comfortable apartment it is not semi-detached suburbia.  Hotels, apartment blocks, shops, restaurants, favelas and offices are built cheek by jowl; there is little green space and the blue sky is hardly visible.  In the busy city, people just make the most of their tiny space covering the less attractive bits and finding light and green when needed.  It is a fabulous city and with a resident guide we were lucky enough to see that and the stunning beaches, mountains and forests.

Nonetheless, it is the city and its grime that seems more attractive.  Coffee- come- music -come – book shops have become our preferred watering holes when sightseeing.  They too, little or large. wonderful or less so, are wedged between the side of a mountain and anything between a multi-storey carpark, a Bank, a wooden shack or indeed was an ex colonial building.  None of which were designed for use having little or no storage space any nook and cranny was used to store stock and unsightly cleaning materials.  It was often a coffee sack that was nailed or hung over a piece of string; mostly very shabby probably hung there for decades.  Part of me felt the urge to tidy it up and then other found pleasing; but Rio is like that.

That wasn’t the only time I saw sacks, or the cloth used to make sacks, in use.  In the market there was a stall that sold rather lovely table cloths and napkins made with sack cloth dyed to a multitude of colours and fringed so delicately; beyond recognition. It seems to have been traditional slave-trade product now for the tourists.  For me it was a little overdone but perfect for those who really wanted to see Rio, the slave trade and the sacks tidied up a bit.

It was my first encounter with dirty old sack that inspired me to look out for some sacks to take back home.  That proved to be impossible so it wasn’t until I got home when I found a supplier I could begin work.

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