Walk Your Way is my tribute to the extraordinary primatologist, Dian Fossey (born 6th of January 1932 in San Francisco, California; found dead on 27th of December 1985 at the Karisoke Research Center, Rwanda), who devoted her life to the study and preservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She is often best known for the book and film, Gorillas in the Mist.
Knit in delicate shades of turquoise and gray that evoke the swirling jungle mist, this shawl combines lush leaf lace panels with garter and eyelet stripes that resemble lined paper in a notebook. The combined effect pays homage both to Dian’s intimate connection to the jungle, and the meticulous notes she took as part of her scientific study. As I designed this shawl, I pictured her bent over her notebook, recording the day’s observations while surrounded by the scents and sounds of the jungle.
The two colorways were designed especially for the club. The blue is called Karisoke, and is named after Dian’s research station in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. (The research station itself is named after two nearby mountains, Karisimbi and Visoke.) The second color is called Digit, named after one of the gorillas with whom Dian had developed a particularly special relationship.
Digit was not only integral to her studies, he was core to how she approached her work. After he was brutally slain by poachers, Dian shifted from a pure scientific focus to an activist one, taking up the fight against poachers who killed adult gorillas for their body parts and kidnapped baby gorillas for Western zoos. Dian and her team disarmed poachers’ traps and patrolled portions of the national park around Karisoke. She also raised money through the Digit Fund for her anti-poaching activities.
Dian worked to study and protect the gorillas with every ounce of her strength. The last words she wrote in her diary were: “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.”