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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

FALLING IN LOVE WITH FABRIC WITHOUT FASHION FAILS [VIDEO INSIDE]

F is for fabric.  I am totally in love with the texture, brightness, patterns, and originality of African textiles.  I mean, how could you not be inspired to create something beautiful with all of the options available?!  I've said it before.  Afro Jazz just ain't Afro Jazz without that African fabric to stitch all of the mixed media elements together.

Picking out fabric in Bonwire in the Ashanti Region of Ghana where Kenti Cloth is made by Master Weavers.


It takes over 20 years before one earns the title of Master Weaver.  I was fortunate to put in a few hours towards that goal while visiting the Bonwire Village in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.  

You cannot tell from the picture below but all four of your limbs are required to make one single strip of Kenti.  The process goes extremely fast as you weave the various colors in to make a pattern.  You work with your bare feet and move back and forth between the right and the left foot as you control the levers.  


Jolyn Gardner, Artist learning the fine art of weaving Kenti Cloth while in Ghana, West Africa.
Taking weaving lessons from a Master Weaver while in Ghana.  

I know so much more about selecting quality fabric for my Afro Jazz art because I actually had the opportunity to make it.  I feel truly blessed in that regard.  I have a "type," if you will when it comes to fabric for Afro Jazz.  Because I use the fabric to fashion natural hairstyles like afros and updos, the chosen fabric must have curves in the pattern to mimic the curls of natural hair or the folds made when wrapping a head scarf.  I have it down to a science at this point.  I can look at a pattern and tell which hairstyles or wraps will look best in my art.   

Talk about intimacy with the product.  I chuckle every time I think about the guy telling me to take off my Chucks and socks to become one with the loom.  The only reason why I had so many layers on in that hot ass heat was because we had a super long overnight bus ride up to the village from Cape Coast.  I was essentially in quasi-pajamas as it was extremely early in the morning when this picture was taken.  

It is still hard to believe that I was actually in friggin' Africa!  I cannot wait to return and make more fabric memories.  I will definitely buy more fashions.  I came home with some but I swear it is never enough.  Check out some of these styles in this video.  How could one ever have a fashion fail with these patterns??  Impossible, right?!




Check out more fabric here.


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