Portia Segametsi Chabo is very talented when it comes to using her hands.
She has always used her hands to put food on the table. Chabo, who hails from Maokane, is one of the promising visual artists right now. Funny enough about this artist is that she only embarked on her latest project last year, and it blows the mind why she waited this long to unleash her creative juices.
Chabo is one of the artists whose work forms part of the 2nd Members’ Exhibition for Thapong Visual Arts Centre members. She recalls that last year, she walked into one of the stalls at the Main Mall, and her plan was to enquire about making some adjustments to her shoes.
The shoe-maker who she talked to referred her to Morongwa Institute in Gaborone where she later learnt that they were providing training for leather making. She enrolled in the course, and the rest as they say is history.
Following that training and the exposure to leather, the bug bit her and she has not looked back since then. Seeing her finished pieces, it is difficult to comprehend that she is still a newcomer.
Chabo’s leather bags are a sight to behold, and she tells BG Style that this is what she was meant to do with her hands. It turns out that working with leather is in her blood. Her grandfather was a famous craftsman in Hukuntsi around the 60s.
He was known for making the best leather products that included clothes and his items were sought after by those who are passionate about leather products. “Working with leather is in my blood. And it is something that I have always wanted to do,” says Chabo.
She buys ready-made leather, and will dye it, and design the various patterns of bags depending on the type of bag that she wants to make. “I create my own patterns, and in the instances that I find an already existing pattern, I try to add my own touch to it,” she explains.
Since embarking on this project, business is going very well and that she can’t complain. Her prices range from P800-P1500. And her favourite colour when it comes to creating is brown as the colour allows for the beauty of the leather to come through. But she also makes bags in other colours as well such as black and yellow.
Taking into account the fact that there is still more that she wants to learn about leather making, she is intending to go for further training. “There is still a lot that I can learn about working with leather, and how to treat it,” says Chabo.