Inspiration Point: Ostrich

Image:  Masterfile

During my first week as a grad student in Kenya, heck, my first week in Kenya, my Rotary host took me to the Nairobi National Park.  It is so very close to the City Centre, here is a real picture of the park with the skyline of Nairobi in the background.

So my first “safari!”

The animal I remember the most, no not the giraffe.  The ostrich! Yes the stick your head in the ground ostrich, though like Washington and his cherry tree, I don’t know if they actually ever do that, maybe someone will enlighten me?

Image:  Masterfile

The ostrich is just so elegant and odd looking.  Those feathers!  They are like a gown, a ballet costume, a cape, – so perfect so elegant.  I was just so excited.  Though I think my Rotary host thought it a bit odd that I was so enamored with such a, well how would you say it humble creature?

Well I was so and I decided I would make homage to the ostrich in my thesis collection.

So I began with some photos of the ostrich and pencil + paper.  Like so many of my ideas I kind of like the first one,  like so many of my ideas my professor did not like my first one.

image:  Idia’Dega

Or the second one,

image:  Idia’Dega

Or the third one…and others, the sketches are umm….missing.

image:  Idia’Dega

But the fourth (…or 15th one) seemed to capture what we were both looking for.

image:  Idia’Dega

See my thesis was about Indigenous adornment and in my mind Indigenous included anything in the landscape, in the environment.  So I was inspired by the silhouette of a hill, the color of the earth in Kenya (so red!), the ear of the elephant, the elegance of the ostrich and more.

Of course seeing the ostrich in the park is one thing, but figuring out where to get ostrich feathers is another.  After some searching I bought at the Maasai Ostrich Farm, a great place.  They raise ostriches for various purposes, they have a great restaurant too where you can get ostrich burgers, ostrich cooked various ways.  So they save all the feathers, use the ostrich skin for leather goods.  It really is a wonderful place.

image:  Idia’Dega

I wanted to show the slim elongated neck, full breast, and the narrow elongated leg.  And came up with this:

image:  Idia’Dega

image:  Idia’Dega

A caplet strewn with ostrich feathers on the neck, back and arms and a long skirt, that actually stars right below the breast (yep the model was not too happy about that one!)

image:  Idia’Dega

Just a reminder that creative inspiration is everywhere.

image:  Idia’Dega

Enjoy.  T.

One Response to “Inspiration Point: Ostrich”
  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this look inside your process, Tereneh. Who knew the ostrich was so beautiful? I love your final design, but I loved all the stages leading up to it, too.

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