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We're raising money to build an arts cooperative in Africa!
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105 backers pledged $10,931 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,931

105

We're raising funds to build a women-owned arts cooperative in my village (Bogue, Mauritania) where Fulani artisans will produce beautiful hand-dyed, hand-loomed textiles using traditional methods, organic materials and plant-based dyes. 

Fulani women, Bogue, Mauritania 2010
Fulani women, Bogue, Mauritania 2010

We believe the future is handmade, and want to encourage and share an artistic process that is at risk of being lost forever by creating new, sustainable markets for these textiles. Our family-owned design company Petel will purchase the cooperative’s textiles and produce unique, high-quality accessories, the proceeds from which will be re-invested in the cooperative and additionally used to fund tuition for children in Bogue.

Purchase one of our unique incentives, share it with friends, or make a larger donation if you believe, like we do, in the importance of this project. There are few nomadic societies that have been thrust into the 21st century as quickly as the Fulani, who live in 13 different African countries, making it a challenge to preserve the tribe's rich cultural heritage and history.

Fulani artistic practices are renowned throughout Africa, but with modern technologies, cheap fashion and Western influence, many Fulani have little incentive to continue their traditional, time-intensive practices of dyeing and weaving textiles by hand.

Traditional Fulani village and weaver
Traditional Fulani village and weaver

We invite you to join us on our journey of preserving this important artistic and cultural heritage of West Africa. Photographer Claire Harlan is working with us to document this centuries-old tradition as well as the opening of this cooperative in August 2015, and we are offering some of her images along with some of our products as incentives for your support.

OUR STORY

Our story began when Ibrahima met Julie and Claire. Peace Corps volunteers who arrived to Mauritania in 2000. Julie and Ibrahima have now been married for 13 years and are raising two daughters in San Francisco while working on Petel as a passion project dedicated to the Fulani people and their traditional artistic practices. Claire is now a well-established photographer, who attended Art Center College of Design and is working in LA on projects that document and preserve cultures, landscapes and heritages.

Our team of three has been funding and collaborating with Mauritanians since our Peace Corps experience, using our personal artistic skills to celebrate and preserve the cultural heritage of many Mauritanians and bring increased attention to this vibrant, little-known corner of the world.

Vintage Fulani textile and Fulani village chief
Vintage Fulani textile and Fulani village chief

To date, with Petel proceeds, we have sent 12 Mauritanian children to school (from grade school through college completion). With your help, we’ll open a women’s cooperative specializing in indigo dyeing and further our goal of sustaining this traditional craft while simultaneously building a sustainable infrastructure for future generations. We'll continue to create beautiful, high-quality accessories using the materials made by these women, and photograph the process of opening this cooperative in August, 2015.

Women dyeing fabric
Women dyeing fabric

OUR PROCESS

A partnership between artists, designers, and weavers in West Africa and San Francisco, Petel was founded by the design team Julie and Ibrahima Wagne to celebrate and preserve traditional artistic practices in West Africa. Petel sources traditional materials created by the Fulani tribe in Mauritania and produces accessories that reflect the tribe's rich cultural and artistic heritage while crossing cultural aesthetic sensibilities. Petel materials are hand made using organic raw materials handwoven by Fulani artisans practicing centuries-old weaving techniques, and hand sewn in San Francisco.

By celebrating traditional African colors and patterns and using authentic natural materials, we build life and longevity into our products. At the same time, with Claire’s focus on photographing the people, landscape and architecture of Mauritania, we are documenting the amazing changes that are happening within Fulani culture, and providing a glimpse of the new rich and diverse society that is emerging out of the variety of social and political changes happening in West Africa today. We hope our work inspires you, and lasts for generations to come.

To date, with Petel proceeds, we have sent 12 Mauritanian children to school (from grade school through college completion). We are thrilled to be expanding the impact of our work by opening our cooperative and furthering our goal of sustaining this traditional craft while simultaneously building a sustainable infrastructure for future generations.
Nouakchott, Mauritania 2013
Nouakchott, Mauritania 2013

We have been honored to receive press through many esteemed publications, and sell our wares in some of the finest museum stores and boutiques in San Francisco and beyond.

“10 Great Gifts (That Also Support Good Causes)”
“10 Great Gifts (That Also Support Good Causes)”
"What do Chefs Want for Mother's Day..?"
"What do Chefs Want for Mother's Day..?"
“The husband and wife team behind Petel supports and collaborates with Fulani weavers in Mauritania to preserve the tribe’s weaving craft”
“The husband and wife team behind Petel supports and collaborates with Fulani weavers in Mauritania to preserve the tribe’s weaving craft”
“Petel Africa: A Love Story”
“Petel Africa: A Love Story”
“Petel Power - ..the Wagnes decided to reinvigorate the craft by exporting the textiles outside of West Africa, and so Petel, which means “little spark,” was born.
“Petel Power - ..the Wagnes decided to reinvigorate the craft by exporting the textiles outside of West Africa, and so Petel, which means “little spark,” was born.
“Petel aims to continue the weaving tradition of the Fulani, the tribe of Mauritania-born Ibrahima”
“Petel aims to continue the weaving tradition of the Fulani, the tribe of Mauritania-born Ibrahima”
“Let’s Talk About Petel Totes and Pillows”
“Let’s Talk About Petel Totes and Pillows”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Your support of our KickStarter campaign directly funds implementation of this women-owned cooperative, which will encourage and preserve and celebrate Fulani traditional techniques and skills while creating jobs and a sustainable market for the cooperative’s products. Profits from the sale of the textiles and the sale of Petel’s accessories will be reinvested in the cooperative, ensuring it becomes a self-sustaining community business. Follow along our journey on social media and we will keep you updated!

https://www.facebook.com/PetelAfrica

YOUR REWARDS

By backing our campaign, you can carry our products with pride, knowing you support African cultural heritage and the arts as well as the growth of our small businesses in the US. You'll also be the first to carry some of our newest colorways and designs! 

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing venture. Your generous pledge only works when we meet our full funding goal. Once you pledge, please consider spreading the word to your friends and family. We’re all in this together, and we believe the future is handmade! 

MANY THANKS TO:

Weavers: Aliou, co-op of Raki

Product Photography: Sven Wiederholt , Andrea Moore, Jarda Brych, Claire Harlan, Teri Weber

Petel Inspiration: Aliou Baba Wagne, Abou Wagne, Aissata Coumba Tall

Editor: Stacy Johnson

Stockists: De Young Museum, M.A.C., Birch, Lavish, Summer House, MOAD SF, Museum of Craft and Design, Aldea Home, Zinc Details, Juxtaposition Home, Cedar and Hyde

Video: M.E. Francis courtesy of YouTube

Sewers: Kyoko, Aivey

Past Present Future Petel Customers and Fans: THANK YOU! We couldn’t achieve what we’ve achieved thus far without you.

Risks and challenges

If our Kickstarter is successful there aren't many obstacles left. The photographs are ready to print, and new ones will be taken on our next trip to Mauritania in August 2015. Textiles are currently being produced in Mauritania, albeit at a rapidly diminishing rate. We are confident that we have enough stock in sight to fulfill our incentive orders. If the project is significantly more successful than we expect, shipping times might be delayed based due to the demand. We will keep you posted if any such delays should occur.

TRAVEL
Travel to remote areas of West Africa has its challenges and hurdles, including visas, restrictions, and typical travel perils such as sickness, transportation snafus are to be expected. We have already purchased our airline tickets, and therefore this campaign is not funding our travel, but rather the capital costs of the cooperative as well as costs associated with photographing the project.

CARE
Our materials are handwoven and/or hand-dyed using traditional, plant-based materials, such as the acacia tree root used in indigo dyes. We recommend hand washing in cool water to maintain and preserve your Petel designs.

All photographs are archival pigment prints, and photographed using a medium and large format film cameras.

DELIVERY TIMES
We expect to open the cooperative in August of 2015 and deliver our project's incentives by early November 2015. If any products are delayed due to international shipping or unforeseen issues, we will update you in a timely manner.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    AFRICAN PEN PAL

    A giant Thank You for helping the project and a postcard sent to you from Mauritania. Who doesn't love snail mail with a foreign stamp?

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    AFRICAN ADMIRER

    Set of 5 postcards with images taken in Mauritania from our past visits. Postcards measure 4" x 6" each.

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    6 backers
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    AFRICAN ART LOVER

    One 8.5" x 11" (image area 7" x 7") archival pigment print.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    AFRICAN ART LOVER II (NEW REWARD)

    One 8.5" x 11" (image area 6.5" x 9") archival pigment print of Mauritanian women.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    AFRICAN ADORNER

    Petel indigo scarf. Beautiful hand-dyed cotton scarf. All-natural indigo dying process makes these scarves uniquely one of a kind.

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    Limited 19 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    AFRICAN ARTISAN

    Petel table runner. This table runner will make a statement in any environment. Measures approximately 12" x 72" in length. Trust us, we'll pick a good one for you.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! (A $45 savings!)

    TWO beautiful hand-dyed cotton scarves (one for you, one for a friend!) All-natural indigo dying process makes these scarves uniquely one of a kind.

    PLUS

    1 8.5" x 11" (image area 7" x 7") archival pigment print

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    AFRICAN LOVER

    Petel Table Runner (~12"x72")

    PLUS

    1 8.5" x 11" photo on archival paper

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  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! (Regularly $150!) Vintage Indigo scarf. Beautiful vintage hand-loomed indigo textiles are sourced from West Africa. The process to weave one scarf takes about two weeks, and the all natural indigo dying process makes these scarves uniquely one of a kind. All scarves are antique (over 30 years old), and minor tears and imperfections are not considered a defect, but rather welcome additions to the beauty and individuality of the piece.

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Vintage Indigo scarf. Beautiful vintage hand-loomed indigo textiles are sourced from West Africa. The process to weave one scarf takes about two weeks, and the all natural indigo dying process makes these scarves uniquely one of a kind. All scarves are antique (over 30 years old), and minor tears and imperfections are not considered a defect, but rather welcome additions to the beauty and individuality of the piece.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! $175 (REG $195)

    Vintage Indigo Large Tote. Handcrafted in San Francisco, using handloomed West African textiles and fine leather from France. Straps are attached with copper rivets The tote has one large lined chamber and interior pocket, in robin's egg blue cotton canvas. Each is uniquely one-of-kind. Measures 18" x 17" wide.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    AFRICAN ART COLLECTOR

    One 20" x 24" (image area 18" x 18") archival pigment print.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    AFRICAN DECORATOR

    Vintage Petel pillow. With its immaculate traditional weaving, indigo dyes, cowhide (on reverse) and feather accents, this handcrafted pillow is the perfectly unique accent for your home. 20" x 20", insert sold separately.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

    Vintage Indigo Tote PLUS Vintage Indigo Scarf
    Both one-of-a-kind, uniquely chosen for you.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    AFRICAN ENTHUSIAST

    1 postcard sent from Mauritania
    1 set of 5 postcards
    1 8.5" x 11" photo
    1 indigo scarf
    2 table runners
    1 pillow or large (20" x 24") print

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    Pledge $950 or more About $950

    AFRICAN!

    Wow, we love you. You will receive a $200 discount by receiving everything in the AFRICAN ENTHUSIAST set

    PLUS

    an AFRICAN ENTHUSIAST set for anyone of your choosing, shipped in time for the holidays

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Funding period

- (31 days)