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Interested in carrying Joyous By Abenaart products? Contact me for my wholesale offerings packet.

Image of Abena in front of her paintings at The other art fair chicago 2022

What is Joyous By Abenaart?

Joyous by Abenaart is the name of my online store and is an extension of my practice through Abenaart.

It is a place where I get to indulge in all of my creative wants - a place where I don't limit myself based on medium but rather my JOY of exploring different material. And a place where I hope to share my practice of joy with you through art making.

Joyous came about after I read a passage about spinner dolphins in Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs - A book I absolutely recommend. In this passage Alexis shares gratitude for these marine creatures who teach us so much, she also talks about how these beautiful marine mammals chose to spin out of pure joy and maybe a little bit of a show. The passage made me reflect on why we need to be proud of ourselves and how to show our flippers every now and then and spin with Joy.

Joy for me? Is a form of resilience, a form of connecting to my ancestors, a form of connecting to the society I grew up in (a small town called Maseru, in Lesotho), its a way of showing up as my full self -  through genuine connection.

Commitment to sustainability

A big part of why I am an artist is my keen interest on creating with sustainable material including tea, coffee, dirt, natural pigments and fibers. Joyous by Abenaart is committed to moving in a way that is as sustainable as possible.

Working slowly and seasonally with my online store is one of the ways I am intentionally offsetting the need to constantly ship single orders.

As a small Black owned business, my hope is to continue moving towards an even more sustainable approach to my offerings.

  • Shipping & Packaging

    Where possible shipping is done in bulk in reusable or recyclable packaging material. Receipt's are sent digitally and local pickup and or drop off options are available for open store dates.

    Other current packaging sources include:

    • The Waste Shed which provides Chicago with an organized, affordable, and reliable resource for repurposed art and craft materials.

    • Chicago Creative Reuse Exchange. CCRX is a local non profit that keeps art material out of landfills and promotes a circular economy by redistributing donated surplus materials, equipment, and supplies. CCRX promotes environmental stewardship through creative reuse programming, products, and partnerships.  

    • Card stock gift boxes are made by Origami Bob - a wonderful human based in Evanston who spends their time making boxes out of card stock. A portion of proceeds from orders boxed with Origami Bobs boxes go to the Evanston/NorthShore YWCA Women's Shelter. The YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world and is a leading service provider in sexual violence support services, early childhood and child care provider services. Founded in 1876, the YWCA is committed to eliminating racism and empowering women.
    • Local thrift stores and where possible Abenaart sources cardboard boxes, gift bags etc. from second hand stores.

  • Painting & Natural dye Material

    Using natural art material has been my path of exploration over the last 10 years through my interdisciplinary art practice. It has looked like an exploration of natural pigment making with spices, soils, teas, coffee, and other nature material.

    Where are the pigments from?

    Almost all of the natural dyes, pigments, and inks I use in my paintings and in my online offerings for sale are made in house with sustainable material such as tea, coffee, turmeric, soil, spices and other natural pigments. You can find more under my how - to blog posts.

    Plants and flowers used for eco dyeing are currently sourced from my garden, local community gardens, and occasionally black walnut leaves from The Center For Humans and Nature. Additional pigments when needed are sourced from Maiwa in batches.

    Maiwa is based in Vancouver, Canada and works primarily with farmers and artisans in India.

    Become a sourcing partner for plants or dye flowers with Abenaart;

    Abenaart is always looking build relationships with gardens in Rogers park or the Northern region of Chicago. Plants I would like to work with include: red roses, marigold, calendula, coreopsis, bachelor's button, Hollyhock, tea leaves, or other natural dye plants.

    If you or someone you know has a garden with any of these flowers or plant material and would like to partner with Abenaart contact me, I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Fibers

    Current fabrics are sourced from the closing of Edwards Flower shop IL. When possible Abenaart sources from different local thrift stores or Textile Discount Outlet in Chicago. In the past Abenaart has sourced fabrics from Dharma Trading however, Dharma is not local to the Chicago area and still requires shipping. These fabrics will slowly be phased out to provide space for a more sustainable and local infrastructure with fabric products sewn locally.

    How are fabrics sewn?

    Abenaart is transitioning to working with an in-house sewer local to Chicago. Abenaart is committed to supporting relationship based collaborations with equitable and fair wages. As a result I work seasonally as sustainable and fabric products take more time to produce locally.

    How are fibers processed?

    Fibers are usually dyed in batch processing to lower the amount of water, gas, and electric useage.