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Published: 14 February 2015

By Andy Ross

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A little Africa

It has been a week of interesting conversations, mainly about our plans for expanding (how exciting!) but with odd titbits that have come our way. One of the themes has been Africa.

As you know, coming from Zimbabwe with its fine traditions of textiles making and embellishing, we have a love of the fabrics from the continent. So it was good to get this Facebook link from a friend about a festival celebrating the traditions of Kente cloth from Ghana which features a competition between weavers who create this incredible textile. From what I can see, the weavers compete to pull a load at one end of a warp across the finish line by weaving the other end, a complex feat of speed, technique and stamina if ever there was one. Have a look at the video on the page - you will be astonished!

Igbo costume Igbo costumeI recently received a present which took my breath away. You may know that we have an ever-expanding collection of fabrics, textiles, and art, and the picture opposite is a close-up of the intricate sewing and coiling of fabric strips that went into this costume. Some internet research has told me that our piece, similar to the one on the link above,  is probably from a Nigerian masquerade festival which celebrates young women. Men wear the costumes which are all hand-made for the festival, dancing and singing to praise the Maiden Spirits. The piece will be on display sometime in the our new space when we get it along with other textiles from our African collection. What a magnificent addition!