Thinking out of the box
Textiles and patterns have always been my great love. I particularly enjoy discovering the symbolism and meanings of certain prints and weaves as well as helping overcome peoples "fear" in wearing them. I knew for certain that with my Ghanian heritage rife with symbolism especially within textiles there was no way our groomsmen would be wearing a plain silk tie. I also understood that I didn't want to overwhelm the guys with prints they couldn't relate to nor did I want to have the same fabric as anybody else. This is where I wanted them to have something truly special. Challenge set.
What led you to work in the interiors industry?
The decision to start this journey in the interior space, was a very natural one. Given the context of the adinkra symbols, their symbolic meanings and the whole idea behind which they are intended to encourage personal wellbeing and social harmony, I thought it lends itself very nicely to our living spaces.
This whole idea, by symbolic osmosis, if we surround ourselves especially our living environments with meaningful design then hopefully those are the values we carry with us when we enter the world every day. And where better to place such values than in your home the nest of your soul.
Also when you say African design to people it instinctively leans to fashion so to do something that not as many people are doing in the interiors space was also an exciting opportunity and challenge
Where do you find your creative inspiration?
My creative inspiration starts with the adinkra symbols their meaning their shapes, how they lend themselves to ideas that I have.
I am also incredibly inspired by colours and textures and am always on the lookout for suggestive textures and colours. Colours which are bold yet not overwhelmingly so, colours that encourage or stimulate the eye. Textures that give the impression of being one thing yet are another. I recently had feed back from my exhibition at Milan Design Week that one of my wallpaper designs looked like leather or fabric hanging up, meanwhile it was actually screen-printed onto non woven wallpaper. Things that cause visual curiosity and intrigue are my creative inspirations
It also is important to for me to communicate that while AMWA Designs is inspired by the adinkra symbols of Ghana, West Africa, that their values and meanings do transcend all cultures and this is something that I think that most people can relate to.
Feedback I often get is that there is a taste of Africa yet it is very contemporary. The idea of also presenting African inspired design in a different format and context to people is also an exciting opportunity for me. It is very important that as many people from diverse backgrounds are able to see themselves in my designs and this also informs my creative process.
Tell us about AMWA X Sammy Aki?
Chrissa: The collaboration between AMWA Designs and Sammy Aki came about as we have known each other for many years and have seen each other’s growth into our respective creative design and textile spaces and so there was a natural synergy to collaborate.
The opportunity to eventually do so came with Sammy’s marriage, a very exciting event in itself and given that Sammy does work within menswear, especially in the wedding space, it gave an opportunity and platform for her to showcase the best of what she does so well. So for AMWA Designs to be a part of that was very exciting and a true honor as well very much appreciated.
The symbolism and meaning of the kete pa design which is used on the groom and groomsmen’s ties and bowties also lends itself to marriage, its been inspired by an adinkra symbol called kete pa which literally means good bed. As the proverb suggests that he or she with a good bed has a good marriage.
It was also my first official foray into fashion so it gave me a taste of some of the considerations needed for it. The nice thing working with Sammy is that she is very clear on what she wants and knew how to achieve this from the get go. I went with her to her tailors and she was very open with her processes so that made it enjoyable to work with her.
What can we expect from you this year?
Chrissa: I have been working on a really interesting project called Africa by Design in association with The Financial Times, which launches in March, so its a pretty busy year for me.
AMWA Designs is going to continue to grow from strength to strength we are looking to enter new market places and have exciting collaborations in the pipeline, one of which is a furniture collection with Mustard a Ghanaian based architectural practice.
We really can’t wait to share our news with everyone so … follow us on instagram @amwadesigns
Isn't Chrissa great? So you understand why I'm coveting all of her designs and want to start another gift list. If you are in Accra, 7-9 March please do attend this great exhibition.