Heidi Zingg Knöpfli and her husband, Dr. of Theology h.c. Hans Knöpfli, flew to Tennessee last Fall to lecture at our University about the crafts and culture of Cameroon. Both originally from Switzerland, Hans worked as a pastor and a craftsman in Cameroon for more than thirty years and Heidi joined him for seven years there. She assisted Hans with quality control of the craft products intended for sale, designed new products for the Handicraft Centre, and worked with the Christian Women Fellowship of the Presbyterian Church before they returned to Switzerland. She is now co-president of the Swiss Protestant Women and advises NGOs about how to raise funds for their projects.

Knopfli lecture
Heidi advanced the projected images while Hans lectured.

My husband, Andrzej, and I are very interested in the art and culture of Cameroon and it was while researching their crafts that we found Hans. His five books (seen in the above photo) are the best we’ve ever read about crafts because they not only describe their appearance and construction, but Hans places them into cultural context by discussing their daily and ceremonial use.

Heidi is also an author and her manuscript, Schuhe für meine Kinder (Shoes for my Children), that features 18 short biographies of women at the grassroot level in Cameroon, is currently being edited.

We really enjoyed getting to know them the week they stayed with us and learned so much! We were full of questions and they were full of answers. We taught them a few things too, though, including tapestry crochet!

Heidi Crocheting
Heidi tapestry crocheting a cell phone bag in Swiss and US colors.

Heidi knew how to crochet, but had never done tapestry crochet, so I gave her some beaded thread and a hook and after showing how to carry and change colors, she began a cell phone bag. Heidi was a quick study and had no trouble placing the beads on the front of the fabric! She began the bag the day before she left and almost finished it on it on the flight home.

Detail of Heidi tapestry crocheting
Heidi’s randomly placed beads really enhance the stripes, don’t you think?

Heidi’s cell phone bag
Heidi’s cell phone bag, tapestry crocheted with size 3 crochet cotton and size 8 beads.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what she will do next!

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