Africa has a rich, varied textile heritage, including everyday cloths, attire and ceremonial garments. In this class we view slides and examples of the treasure trove of African textiles from Egyptian appliqué to woven Kente cloths and textured Shoowa velvets, to contemporary printed and embellished work. Using these sources of inspiration, students discover the exciting elements of improvisational African design and color and make their own quilt using piecing and appliqué, or embellishment if desired.
African Cloths is for those who want to extend their cultural and design knowledge beyond the western design esthetic. We look at a huge variety of African textile approaches and styles, and work in different colorways, all related to different parts of Africa. Some may choose to work in desert-like earthy tones, in an array of indigo blues, or in the bright multi-colors of today's urban African cities. It is certainly not just about bright African prints, often seen as the only African design approach. We look at a range from simplified asymmetrical designs, to complex linear designs to applique and richly embellished work. The design approach offers asymmetry, organic line and pattern repeat without predictability.