Vintage African Textiles

The Adire African Textiles shop at Alfie’s market is always a source of textile inspiration and creative ideas. On a grey mid-wintery day, the blast of visual interest starts at the door.

In many parts of Nigeria, wide sleeved gowns are embroidered around the neck with intricate patterns.

 

An embroidered Hausa robe in indigo fabric

An embroidered Hausa robe in indigo fabric

 

In Mali, cloth is sometimes woven with blocks of colour, which are designed to be stitched together in a certain way to form a larger geometric pattern. Unusally, some weavers make designs that end up as images of people. This technique is known in one area of the country, and the weaver can be determined by his style. I found an example of this on the wall of the shop.

Mali block-colour strip cloth

Mali block-colour strip cloth

 

This shelf is teeming with good quality Ewe cloth from Ghana with slightly unexpected colour combinations, ranging from the simpler blue/whites to rich graduations of reds, yellows and greens.

A shelf-load of vintage Ewe cloths

A shelf-load of vintage Ewe cloths

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