Bow Tie - Coconut

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Payamba Coconut bow ties are made from coconut shells. In Sierra Leone the coconut milk and fruit are used in many local dishes, whereas the Coconut shells are mainly a waste product. We wanted to upcycle this material and combine it with a colourful strap produced in African lapa, and thereby turn it into a good looking bow tie.

The bow tie is produced at Masanga Hospital Carpentry. Carpenter Minkaelo was the man assigned for the project. In the beginning we basically had the carpenter starring at us as if we were crazy, “Why do you want to have a coconut shell around your neck?” Finally, as they could see the benefits (eating the insides), they agreed to start the production.  Minkaelo broke a couple of coconuts in the beginning, but he cracked the code in no time and found a good technique to do the cutting.

After cutting the shells, MInkaelo handed them over to Sailu. Sailu smoothened the shells with a file and sandpaper, depending on which kind of look we wanted from the shell. This was a time-consuming procedure, but we wanted to bring forth the different nuances of the shell, and to have different types of designs. After smoothening the shells, Sailu gave them to Mbalu at Masanga Hospital Tailor workshop. Mbalu made straps in traditional African lapa and tied them to the shells.

This bow tie combines the natural look of the coconut with the traditional African colours of the lapa.

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