by Tutu Westerhoff
Find out more about me in this short film… please take your time !!
My life is built on the foundation of the past.
I mean, life has always secretly prepared me for the future and I wasn’t aware of it. Born in West Africa, more precisely Sierra Leone as the child of two diplomats, I spent the first years of my life in the USA and England before I found my roots in Germany. Were I, Tutu Westerhoff live with my husband and our three children in the heart of Cologne, Germany.
Let me take you with me, way back to the 70s when I was five years old, before my parents were sent overseas for work. Imagine my mother hanging up meters over meters of vibrant fabric in our back garden, under the bright African sun of Guinea, in West Africa. Can you imagine that? Oh yeah! Beautifully processed cotton, dyed by hand with the almost forgotten “tie and dye” technique. Even then, I had goosebumps, fascinated by the shades and textures that my mother created with her own hands. Stunning! Such Beauty! Such Class! Such a quality! The artistic handwriting of my mother’s fabrics could be found at many weddings, christenings and funerals. Looking back, I realized that life had secretly prepared me for the future and I wasn’t even aware of it!
I stare in admiration at the dark woman who is putting the last pieces together, removing every loose thread, carefully folding the fabrics and adding them to the collection. Each part is unique. More beautiful and incomparable like no other – every fiber made with love, kissed by the sun. Accompanying my mother was always a highlight, especially when it came to the tailor. The atmosphere in the tailor’s shop was captivating, as the beautiful fabrics were trimmed and merged into a masterpiece. It was fascinating to see how the finished garments were presented outside and all passers-by admired the colorful unique items.
I especially cherished those moments when I heard my mother say, “You lek dem? “Take dem nor me pikin.” (You like the fabrics? Pick up the scraps of fabric and take them with you.) Back at home, I made clothes and bed linen for my doll from these scraps of fabric. Yes…
… life has always secretly prepared me for the future – and I wasn’t aware of it!
Years later I am in Germany and study interior design in Düsseldorf. I picked up a few techniques, was inspired and acquired a deep understanding and understanding of design. As exciting as that sounds, life was a little more difficult for a young African girl who tried to do everything on her own in a foreign country. Although I was never able to complete my studies, I gained a lot of experience because, as you can guess, life has secretly always prepared me for the future – and I wasn’t aware of it!
Something inside of me just didn’t want to give up. A short time later, I was back in a lecture hall studying textile design in Mönchengladbach, Germany. My curiosity and passion for textiles continued to grow – it literally exploded. But again I failed to finish this trip. Still, I took another drawer full of experience and skills with me, all because….
… that life has secretly always prepared me for the future – and I wasn’t aware of it!
But back to the MomentosBox. In 2017, my simple blog developed into a blog with a connected online shop. What do you expect from a proud African woman who loves her roots and has a unique style? Right! Exquisite, high quality, handcrafted products, designed with an explosive variety of African wax print fabrics. Bright colors and modern designs.
Years of experimenting with different, sometimes crazy, practices opened the door to a range of accessories for women, children, kitchen, office and housewares, especially pillow cases and lamp lights. Over time, I expanded my product range to meet the individual needs of my valued and convinced customers.
However, I was never (100 percent) sure whether the wax print fabrics that I used for my creations were just as organic and without questionable additives.
I also asked myself whether the textiles were also ethically sound – as every mother wishes for her own children.
So far, the manufacturing or dyeing processes for the fabrics used in the textiles I used were still unknown to me and I was wondering whether the so-called African fabrics had ever seen African soil?
Incidentally, these were the frequently asked questions my customers asked about fabrics. After being unable to provide adequately correct answers to this, even curiosity seized me. I had to find out …
My curiosity and the urge to find out more about the fabrics prompted me to investigate more deeply.
And what did I find out? The story behind the designs and making of wax prints is extremely complex. Much of the material that we call African is not made by Africans or even in Africa itself. No, because the roots of these substances are not in Africa but here in Europe. The day I found out about this, I knew what to do.
The foundation stone was finally laid in 2019! Armed with a mountain of experience, newly discovered skills and a deep passion, I felt strong enough to finally tackle it.
No, not another classroom. That was no longer an option. I dared to design my own signature African-inspired prints. And this time, in keeping with my environmentally conscious lifestyle, made solely from sustainable materials.
Yes, it was a roller coaster ride, soaked in sweat, tears, joy, laughter, failure to start again, but I’m on the right track now. After everything I’ve said and done, I strongly believe that the love of your own home and the way you live have a valuable and significant influence on your well-being. This is exactly why MomentosBox is focusing more than ever on home textiles and lifestyle accessories.
My mission is to produce exclusively manufactured products that help my customers to achieve a sustainable, unique, exciting and aesthetic home and lifestyle. Yes, I would like to help my customers to create the balance to live sustainably and to create the home they have always dreamed of.
my passions are music, handicraft and …
when I’m not busy being a mother and making sure that everyone is looked after, I take the time to devote myself to my other life’s tasks … this includes music, but also always creating new little accessories.