Last Saturday I had the honor of lunching with Susan Hull Walker, Founder and Creative Director of Ibu Movement, at the Renaissance Women of Charleston monthly gathering at the Principle Gallery. Susan was our featured guest cultural speaker, sharing her unique global mission and presenting six powerful fashion looks to our dedicated group of RWC women.
Not only is she the former minister of the Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, she is also an inspiring entrepreneur, in support of female makers world-wide. Tribal textile artists, clothing and jewelry designers imbedded in indigenous cultures from Africa to Indonesia, are brought to life through her company, Ibu Movement. Ibu is an Indonesian term for "woman of respect". And Susan is bringing much respect to female artisans and makers from obscure parts of the world. Through her outreach, these women have the opportunity to share their rare handmade wares, telling intricate stories with their hands.
In her multi-ethnic-styled jewel-box shop on King Street, you can find so much inspiration through the textures, patterns, fabrics and colors of her chosen pieces. The store reads like a carefully curated gallery, full of soulful artisans, each with their own unique style, including many pieces that are custom-made in the Ibu workshop.
But it's really her storytelling, expressed through the filter of love, passion, and empowerment as shared in her blog that intrigues me. Hers is one of the few I actually read, not just peruse. She writes with a continual sense of wonderment at the women she meets, painting the background they reside in so richly. I feel like I am inside these exotic locales with her, as I follow her words down the page. Not envious of her travels, rather cheered by the sumptuous details of her adventures, which I read Iike a cherished novel, as I lay curled in bed, a cup of coffee at my side.
More than the poetic descriptions of these female artists in indigenous cultures, it's the idea of creating a circle of women who can join together at one table, from maker to gatherer, that is the main draw for me. To be affiliated with the larger Ibu tribe is to find enduring meaning through its connections. I encourage you to visit Ibu Movement at 183b King Street in Charleston and take a piece of handmade “art from the heart” home with you, knowing that you are now a valuable part of this storied circle of women-supporting-women. We are Ibu!