Voices of Africa

Our vision is to place people from different life experiences in an environment where they can exchange ideas and find universal connections. I think that we have accomplished that. After participating in a workshop Ghanaians look forward to the next one and outside artists come back every year. Everyone involved feels inspired to continue the creative process.

Some of the artists who have participated in our workshops, and other people who make it all happen:

Susi Hall
"The artists who come to teach for ABA House take home the special experience that comes from living within a little village, instead of passing through as tourists. They forge friendships, learn humility, and know that creativity is finely honed through the soul rather than by an abundance of materials." READ MORE

Website: www.workswithpaper.com

Judith Whyte Whitmore
"My stay at Aba House was very enjoyable. It was a pleasure to meet Aba and her kids. The tie and dye class was fun and so were the trips to town. Being at Aba House was a rewarding and satisfying experience."

Barbara Bussolari
As an artist, I went to Ghana with my eyes wide open and left four weeks later with my heart filled with wonders. You cannot travel anywhere in the world and find a more friendly, accommodating, and proud people. Being on “Ghana time” is something all obruni should experience.

Aba House was amazing and wonderful. Talk True served us meals along with a healthy dose of local lore and with the help of Emmanuel, I even learned to wash my clothes without a machine. The kids…what can I say. They were so open and giving, I found myself doing more learning than teaching. The whole Ghana experience was one I would love to repeat and I can recommend it to anyone.

Website: www.barbarabussolari.com

Charlie Michaels
Charlie came to Aba House to work with the neighborhood children and to study the Ghanaian culture. He and the Aba House kids made an appliqué flag based on the flags of the Asafo tradition.

After two solo trips to Aba House, Charlie returned with 10 students from the University of Michigan. The students had to have a community service project, so they divided into 3 groups, each group included Aba House kids. It was a busy 3 weeks. Except for the mural, community members came to work with us also. Charlie and his students found time to visit a few sites of historical interest and celebrate two birthdays and, of course, there were cakes and candles.

Website: charliemichaels.wordpress.com
Story: playgallery.org/stories/ghana
Website: ghanasummer.tumblr.com

Sammy Ansi
Sammy is an artist who teaches at St. Theresa's Training College in Hohoe, Ghana. A graduate of Kumasi University of Science and Technology, he has a Masters' Degree and before teaching worked as a professional potter. Sammy co-facilitated the ceramic furniture workshop in August 2002 and is instrumental in organizing and implementing many of our workshops.
Barbara Allen
"I did not make the decision to go to Ghana lightly. Traveling to Africa for most Americans is a momentous decision on many levels. I had set very specific goals which could only be achieved by being willing to risk the physical and psychological discomfort intrinsic in traversing a culture very different from my own. I was searching for a path leading to creative and spiritual renewal in my own work as a sculptor. I was interested in working and collaborating with artists who approach the art making process very differently than we do in the West."  READ MORE

Susan Peterson
Susan, a San Francisco potter and teacher, spent four months in Ghana with her husband, Bosco, who was volunteering to help people solve computer problems. Susan, when she wasn't playing on a woman's soccer team, volunteered to teach in schools and also generously gave her time to facilitating pottery workshops at Aba House.  SOME PHOTOS

Website: www.mudgrrl.com and many more photos
Gigliola Caneschi
Born in Turin, Italy, in 1943, Gigliola Caneschi grew up in several countries in Europe and North Africa awakening an early interest in language and in the way varying cultures are expressed through their hand made objects. READ MORE

Ellie Schimelman ("Aba")
Ellie graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1960 with a degree in Art Education. She was an art teacher and supervisor in public schools for over 20 years and taught adult education classes in the Boston area. She was also a professional potter and part owner of the Cambridge Artists Cooperative crafts gallery in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. Always attracted to African art, Ellie took her first trip to Ghana in 1978.Since then she has returned many times to research and study traditional crafts, do volunteer teaching and take people on crafts and culturally centered tours of Ghana. She now devotes herself fulltime to directing Cross Cultural Collaborative, Inc. and facilitating workshops held at its cultural center in Ghana.  WHO IS ABA
Marcy Prager
"When staying at Aba House, there is always something to do. One doesn't always need to plan. It just happens. The daily comings and goings of the artists and friends always leads to lengthy conversations that teach you about the spirit and life of Ghana. An artist will always take time out of his/her day to take a visitor somewhere special. They have an everlasting positive effect on newcomers."

2009 update on Marcy (congratulations!)
Marcy Prager, a Driscoll second grade teacher, was named Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies. Ms. Prager received the national honor for her innovative work with students. She was honored at the NCSS Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, November 13, 2009.  LINK

Barbara Fletcher
I arrived in Ghana in August of 2006. I had always wanted to travel to Africa so I was finally able to realize this dream. At the same time I was also nervous and apprehensive about immersing myself in a culture so different from my own. I arrived at the airport in what seemed like the middle of the night. Embarking from the plane I felt like a rock star as people crowded around waiting for visitors to descend the tarmac. How can one sum up Ghana? First, I had incredibly interesting experiences at Aba House. The Ghanaian people are amazingly good spirited and welcoming considering their circumstances. The culture is lively and a spiritualism and trust in God pervades that I will never forget.

Website: www.paperdimensions.com


Shawn teaches at Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. He spent the month of August 2005 teach papermaking bookbinding at Aba House, experimenting with plant fibers and other indigenous materials and supplies. Shawn is a nationally recognized bookbinder, he has made all sorts of books including edible books and pop up books.

Website: www.shawnsheehy.com

Kwao Adipah has a Masters Degree from Kumasi University of Science and Technology and writes art curriculum for the Ghana Ministry of Education. He is also a published author and book illustrator, a potter and is particularly interested in the history of basket making. Kwao manages Cross Cultural Collaborative, Inc. when Aba is not in residence.

Talk True as a child he reported to his parents when any of his brothers or sisters got into mischief and his parents always praised him for Talking True...and now as an adult, he is still known as Talk True. Talk True is the glue that holds Aba House together... he supervises the workmen, prepares the meals when the cook doesn't show up, does the laundry, and learns each workshop technique and participates with the artists. Truly a renaissance man. He befriends our visitors, teaches them how to cope with an unfamiliar culture and keeps one eye open all night to make sure all is safe.

Alice Baffou is an administrator at the Ghana Ministry of Education. She is the liaison between CCC, Inc. and the Ministry making sure that the educational goals of each group are met. CCC, Inc. conducts workshops for art teachers in Ghana and they are supervised by Alice.

John (Kweku) Nash's interest in Ghana began in 1988 when he served there in the Peace Corps as a teacher. He has worked promoting artisans throughout Africa as the co-founder of the AfricanCraft.com web site. Aba couldn't have done any of her programs without him. He has generously taught her every computer skill she possesses, worked pro bono on her Aba Tours website and now has co-produced the Cross Cultural Collaborative, Inc. website with her.

Bodom has been residing at Aba House longer than anyone else. He is jokingly referred to as our vicious watch dog. He sleeps a lot and is very sociable. You can find him sitting right in the middle of every workshop.

Workshop facilitators

Sammy Ansi
Laurel True
Bethia Brehmer
Barbara Allen
Gigliola Caneschi
Susan Peterson

Workshop participants:

Jennifer Robinson ¤ Liz Coomber ¤ Jean Choy Tate ¤ Marcy Prager ¤ Heather McKenzie ¤ Susanna Williams and Halley Allen ¤ Cyril Kpondo ¤ Shelia Dakwa ¤ J. Ansong-Ntiri, Kwame Opoku ¤ Francis Boateng ¤ Kofi Adjei ¤ Walter Asamti ¤ Issac Oteng ¤ Wilheimina Achampong ¤ Franklin Reimmer ¤ Peter Owusu-Akyyaw ¤ John Armah Hammond ¤ Samuel Lovi ¤ Patrique DeGraft Yankson ¤ Dr. Alhaj Peliga ¤ Fred Odamtey ¤ Mr. Sowah ¤ John Abato ¤ Franklin Reimmer ¤ Cornelius Affdo ¤ the children from the MMOFRA FOUNDATION and its director Esi Sutherland-Addy.....

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