How tea and spices have become the preferred language in our home.

I have always been a visually expressive being. My words will often fail me but my hands never do. As far back as I can remember, I could be found immersed in my overflowing box of art and craft materials, muted for hours, head down, just making. Whether it would be a mansion for my Barbie dolls or knitting squares into elaborate fantastical costumes.
Fatema and spices


There was a raw visceral fascination to create something real from my imagination. I would find basic materials that were lying around the house or in my dad's shed. This was coupled with the determination to leave no waste behind me - I attribute this to the scarcity (or resourceful!) mentality that I adopted from my parents as first-generation immigrants from Tanzania to London in the 1960's. Fast forward to my masters degree at the RCA, knitwear became my preferred tool to manifest functional couture that was visually appealing as well as cutting edge, using the latest technology. Fast forward again and I now have new tools to work with, still creating with my hands, using raw ingredients, but perhaps slightly less self-indulgent. Two children later and after 12 years of adjusting to a new climate and culture, I have finally found a way to use my new tools to find my words. Be it current politics or just a need to make my self understood - to my children.

Spices - Beautiful, knobbly, multi-faceted, colourful and with so many flavour profiles. 'A bit like us as people don't you think? ' I muse out loud to my children as we have afternoon tea with a mishmash of lamingtons, Indian pakora that all centre around a steaming, spicy, soul-warming, cup of masala chai. This Friday I will attempt to bring our spice friends out into the open and introduce them to a new, wide-eyed younger audience. They will play, make friends, perhaps even be pleasantly surprised at discovering something different. At the end of their mini spice tour, each individual will have had a turn to smell, feel, crush and create their own concoction.
children exploring spices

My hope is that this will spark some curiosity around how to use these different set of tools. Perhaps even create some interest and questioning around ourselves and how we all can fit together in a harmonious united community, just like their newfound spice friends. Join us at Lane Cove Plaza this Friday to celebrate Autumn Harmony with Spice Stories from The Chai Room


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