Jewelry Techniques of West Africa by Matthieu Cheminée (DVD)
With little more than an anvil and a small box of tools, generations of jewelers in West Africa have developed innovative ways of working in silver and gold. While the objects are well documented in museums around the world, the artisans and their techniques are not well known outside their communities. For the first time, this video provides access to the workshops of jewelers in Senegal, Guinea, Mali and other countries of West Africa. In keeping with the apprenticeship traditions of the region, viewers are invited to learn by watching. In this way, the ambiance of the African workshops is preserved. Matthieu Cheminée demonstrates some of the ingenious handmade tools used by these artists, and in the Resources section, he explains some of the basic proceedures that will be especially helpful for craftsmen inspired to practice these techniques.
Universal DVD, 140 minutes
About the Actor
Matthieu Cheminée is a Parisian-born jeweler, photographer and teacher whose training spans three continents. As a young man he lived in Taos, New Mexico where he learned traditional jewelry techniques from Native American masters. He then moved to Mali in West Africa where he worked with jewelers and first encountered the legacy of this ancient craft. After three years in Africa, Cheminée moved to Montreal, Canada where he lives now. His time in Africa left a deep impact on the author and he has maintained strong ties to local individuals and institutions ever since. In addition to organizing conferences, Cheminée offers master classes in Canada where he passes along the techniques of West African jewelers. The revenue generated in these workshops goes back to Africa to assist jewelers and their families.