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Bristol Characters of Culture: The Ashanti Empress

Bristol is home to some ridiculously talented artists and self starters. For our second interview in the Characters of Culture series, we turn to a woman bringing colour to the West Country, Ruby Maya, to tell us about the origins of Ashanti Empress, and how Bristol keeps her inspired throughout the winter.

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Behind the Scenes with Ashanti Empress

Ever wondered what a standard day looks like for Ashanti Empress out in Ghana? Now you get the chance to see behind the scenes and witness almost first hand how our colourful clothing is made. The days usually start with a little walk around Kromuase, the suburb I stay in, to call in on the tailors and check on progress. Then a hot and bumpy ride in a Tro-Tro (local bus) into Kumasi, Ghana's second biggest city and capital of the Ashanti Region. Here is where my day usually gets a bit more chaotic, the streets are teeming with people, lining the sides of the pavements and selling anything you could ever imagine. There are car horns and shouts bombarding you...

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Bristol to Morocco - A Visual Voyage

The last two months have been spent exploring the road from Bristol to Morocco. I drove over 4000 miles, drank a lot of tea, had interesting encounters, swam in rivers and oceans, caught up with old friends and broke down! It’s been an amazing few months, revitalizing my love for travel and also inspiring me to undertake more road trips in the future, especially alone. Here are a few of my favourite pictures from the journey so far. I was worried before leaving that driving alone through Europe would be lonely and sleeping alone in the van at roadsides would be scary but it wasn’t the case. I was worried about the border crossing to Morocco, taking the van over...

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The Long Journey South

Last Thursday I began a journey of 5000 miles, like a swallow I am spreading my wings after a festival packed summer and heading south in search of the sun… and colourful clothing! Over the last few months I have taken an old 1997 Fiat Ducato van and turned it into the mighty Ashanti Wagon, lovingly named Elkie she is a colourful and compact home on wheels that I am hoping will get me as far as Morocco. Its then travel by whatever means possible all the way down to Ghana. This adventure is something of a whim, an idea I have always dreamt of since first visiting Ghana in 2008 but the time has never been right to turn...

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