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「編織顏色 」少數族裔婦女手作品

Sewing Colours: Handmade by Ethnic Minority Women in Hong Kong - Clarisse's Handmade Knitted Coin Purses

Sewing Colours: Handmade by Ethnic Minority Women in Hong Kong - Clarisse's Handmade Knitted Coin Purses

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Hand-Made Product Producer: Clarisse

Clarisse – crocheting her second life, ‘fashioning’ racial inclusion

We often imagine starting a new chapter somewhere else, but for Clarisse, this has not become any more real. In 2011, she fled from Congo and found herself a ‘refugee’ in Hong Kong. As refugees were not allowed to work in Hong Kong, Clarisse, who was a nurse back in Congo, had to live on the meagre monthly subsidy of $1,500 (on top of around $1,300 in the form of food coupons). ‘Everything was so stressful for me. I was having headache, nothing to do.You can only stay home everyday, eat, sleep, watchTV, not doing anything.’ Clarisse lamented.

That was the time when Clarisse turned to some charity organization for a sense of purpose. Sara, a worker at a church organization, taught Clarisse the basics of crocheting. In one week, Clarisse made a baby blanket out of crocheting. ‘When I started making crochet I felt like the lady was right. When I was thinking something I started making crochet.

Everywhere I go I bring my crochet in my bag.That was my deep counseling. Even when I am at home I start thinking I do doing crochet I made bunny, giraffe, I made Christmas decoration, everything of crochet I made.’ 

Crocheting not only cured Clarisse of her pounding headache, but it also inspired her to use sewing as a language of racial integration. She turned toYoutube for her sewing lessons, because she found few people specializing in sewing. Slowly but surely, she started to make her own clothes. Being an African woman in Hong Kong, she decided to take a locational advantage to order from Congo, from the PRC, but also from Sham Shui Po, which is the fabrics capital of Hong Kong. Clarisse made unique designs out of jackets which carry a special message. ‘I make reversible jackets with a Chinese design on the outside, and African design on the inside. I want to tell people that our cultures can mix; Chinese and Africans can work together in harmony.’

The plight of refugee women inspired Clarisse to start Art Women Collective. Looking back, Clarisse is surprised how far she has gone. Seeing herself as a ‘fighter woman’, Clarisse also believes that everyone is talented, if they can ignite their inner- strength. ‘My message to others is to be strong and believe in oneself. No one can stop you from making your dreams.’

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