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Newsletter

An Introduction To Afrikan Textile 

June 2001

Photo from ShowThe ownership of fine fabric is, undoubtedly, one of the highest forms of aesthetic expression in Afrikan culture. Weavers continuously explore new materials and designs to meet the needs of the culture. 

Historically, yarn or thread was woven into strips five to seven inches wide. This size required minimal storage and maintenance while being transported for sale. One would buy the number of strips needed and sew them together for a garment . 

In Western textile design there is the expectation of identical patterns or motifs to be repeated in the cloth. Afrikan textile design, on the other hand, uses varying geometric design with the unexpected. These deliberate "errors" so to speak, are often believed to represent a codified language. Though, there is often significance in symbols and color, the vast majority of them are purely decorative. 

The notion of "wearable art" is not a new or novel fashion statement, but rather a significant part of a very old culture. 

Crystal Morrison
June, 2001

 

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