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Friday, July 18, 2014

31 DAYS OF ART: THE ART OF CREATING NATURAL HAIRSTYLES USING AFRICAN FABRIC (New Art Inside!)

African fabric is my kryptonite and a natural girl's best friend. I simply cannot get enough of it. It was featured in our island wedding in Jamaica, it is a fashion staple in my wardrobe, often wraps up my long flowing locs in love, and now it is featured in my art. The traditional textiles take me back to a time that only my ancestral D.N.A. knows the truth about.

Now, I am a proud honorary member of the "Cotton Club."  You know, those of us who frequently wrap our hair up in bright, vibrant pieces of fabric, (bamboo earrings...at least two pair, haha) and run amok all over town.  Man, when I know I did a good wrap and hair combo where some of my hair is styled to compliment the wrap...YOU.  CAN'T.  TELL.  ME.  NATHAN. (Yes, I said Nathan.)  Rocking African fabrics just brings out my swag and yes I be feelin' myself to death, hunty.  When I see other members of the Cotton Club or anyone from Team Natural, there is always a nod of respect and sly smile exchanged as if to say, "I see you.  I mean, really see you and you're beautiful."


Stamp Making Kit and African Fabric for African American Greeting Cards

It was a few weeks ago when I started playing with the idea of turning African fabrics into natural hairstyles.  It started with two mixed media collage pieces I call Afro Jazz.  Then I started using that phrase as an actual verb: Afro Jazzing.  This is what I call my art that incorporates African fabrics into natural hairstyles from afros to fro hawks.  

When I look at the curves, patterns and designs on the fabric, they resemble natural hairstyles to me.  I can usually just cut around the shapes on the fabric to make into a hairstyle.  When the patterns are more geometric and box-like, I simply cut circles or angular shapes.  To give the appearance of texture, I make sure my cuts overlap more than one pattern.  Circular shapes represent afros and afro puffs while, thin strips are made to resemble flat twists.  Here are 4 brand new handmade greetings cards I will start producing that feature the Afro Jazz technique:


African American Greeting Cards Featuring African Fabrics from Nigeria
Afro Jazz Handmade Greeting Cards (5x7 and blank inside for your personal message) with envelops come in a 4 pack for $13 (plus tax +shipping).  Order yours today!

The process involves a lot of patience, can be quite messy and requires some good music playing in the background.  For these greetings cards, I even made the stamp of the side profile woman figure with a Speedball Speedy Carve Stamp Making Kit.  Even the side profile is representative of a natural hairstyle.  Here, I wanted the face to have a design that resembled cornrows.

  
I actually love making stamps now!  I plan to make a few more designer stamps with the Speedy-Carve Carving Block.  It sort of looks like a giant flat pink eraser and is sturdy and easy to work with. 

Have you tried working with anything new this week?  Would you like more information on how to join the new Cotton Club?  Just playing BUT there are secret meetings taking place at all times of the day, all over the world and rumor has it...it will be coming to a corporate boardroom near you.    


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