At Home Around the World with Heidi Wright
PULL QUOTE: “My family, my people, my art are my home.”—Heidi Wright
For Heidi Wright, local artisan, travel guide, wife and mother of four, the word “home” has a heart’s definition. Born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area, she felt drawn to Africa as her “true home” from an early age. Physical house locations through the years have been wide-ranging: Uganda, Kenya, Virginia and, for the past seven years, Bend. She has traveled extensively, including to Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Russia and India. Today, Wright stays connected to the world via her company Safari Blankets, a textile line of blankets made from fabric she has sourced from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Congo and India.
What defines “home” for you?
My family, my people, my art are my home. Even in Uganda, when we had no running water and no electricity, I made it home. I tiled the outhouse with colorful bottle caps. I’m always creating something.
Tell me a story about a Safari Blanket.
I love old, traditional fabric that tells a story. Each piece of fabric (sewn on a Safari Blanket) is hand-carried from its country of origin by either a friend, a family member, or by me personally. (A recent recipient is a cancer patient in Tennessee who plays bluegrass guitar for fellow patients in the chemotherapy room.) He has a blanket made from fabric from India. I love how the stories of people come together in this way.
We needed a “rest spot” for our kids to be rooted. Someplace clean, safe and peaceful where we could take a big breath.
How do you stay connected to your African home?
I continue to travel there and lead trips. I want people to know that it’s not all destitute, starving. Most countries in Africa are beautiful and have a lot to share with the rest of the world. There are 54 countries in Africa. It is not just one place. (There are) thousands of languages and traditions.