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Xmas in July

One of the crafts that will be on show. Visitors can expect !IKhoba’s beautiful new quilts and cushion covers themed to the range of flowers and birds, while their table cloths and serviettes will have the traditional Christmas motifs with a ‘Namibian twist’

One of the crafts that will be on show. Visitors can expect !IKhoba’s beautiful new quilts and cushion covers themed to the range of flowers and birds, while their table cloths and serviettes will have the traditional Christmas motifs with a ‘Namibian twist’

Christmas in July’ will be hosted by !IKhoba for the second time this year, with the intention of making it an annual event. The !IKhoba Textiles Farm Project (!IKhoba) blossomed out of a hobby into a fully-fledged business 30 years ago, in 1983. It currently employs 250 women in the communities around Otjiwarongo and Swakopmund and supplies three shops in Windhoek, three in Swakopmund and one in Omaruru on a permanent basis.
!IKhoba has always focused on creative sewing and embroidery and began with the rural women being encouraged to ‘sew what they see’. The initial work thus depicted bird and animal motifs – in fact, the word ‘!IKhoba’ is taken from the Bushmen language and means ‘wild animals of Africa’. Over time, the artwork developed into narrative depictions of rural life including household scenes such as brightly coloured washing on the line, with children running and playing in the background or scenes from the farm, school and church. More recent designs have included key words (such as ‘love’, home’ and ‘peace’) written in local languages as well as African proverbs. Even with the ongoing innovation and evolution in the project, care is taken to ensure that the work produced retains the intrinsic value of the freedom of expression of the artist. Each piece is as individual as the artist’s own signature.
Attention to changing consumer and fashion preferences has been actively driven since 2011 when Mildred Kehrmann (daughter of one of the original founders) joined the project. Mildred has pushed the production of items beyond the original design range of pillow cases, table cloths, serviettes and aprons to include cell phone bags, baby quilts, baby bibs and tea towels, to name but a few items. She has begun collaborating with bead artists to improve their craft work and to create new objects and styles. Mildred herself has begun creatively painting animal horns, which will be launched at the exhibition this year, together with a new embroidery design range and a variety of Christmas-inspired products.
The inspiration to ‘Christmas in July’ is to showcase the !IKhoba products to international tourists in our busiest visiting season, whilst also appealing to local Namibians with both fresh ideas as well as Christmas items well in time for the festive period.

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