CSAO: Senegalese Recycled Craft Shop

Walking into this store in the Marais area of Paris is like entering another country altogether. Suddenly the air is alive with light and colour as the exotic objects, fabrics and furniture transport your spirits. This shop was started in 1995 by a French woman who lived in Senegal and loved the ingenuity and creativity of the Senegalese. Senegal is a former French colony with strong links to France. She started a collective outside of Dakar with 400 artisans to promote their skills and talent, with profits going to a children's charity. Many of the products are recycled from plastic or tin cans. They re-invent traditional art and make it modern such as beaded chairs which are part of an old tradition. The kettle, pictured, is made from recycled plastic and comes in all sorts of striped combinations. It is lightweight and would make a great watering can for the plants. The multi-coloured woven mats, made of recycled plastics, would make any room come alive. The briefcases are made of tin cans or scrap metal sheeting. They were originally created for local use, but the Pop art irony of recycling (transforming a Nescafé sign into a lawyer's briefcase, for example) has made them a big hit. There is an Eiffel Tower made of recycled cans and little animal sculptures. Woven baskets and platters as well as wooden ones are for sale as well as wonderful woven fabrics that are hand-dyed and painted and baked in the sun. :: CSAO

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