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“African Textiles: Color and Creativity Across a Continent”

John Gillow

Author and Dealer, United Kingdom

A vast array of techniques is used across Africa to create sumptuous textiles. Breathtaking skill and sheer creativity produce weavings in radiant color, from the glorious strip-weaves of the Ashanti and the Ewe of West Africa to the beadwork of the Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele peoples of the South, and the Asian-derived tradition of weaving silk and raffia of Madagascar. This talk will offer an overview of the textiles of Africa and the peoples who make them, as well as the types of loom, materials and dyes. Important influences on textile production – religion, culture, trade, tradition, fashion and the changing role of women – are assessed in each of the different regions of Africa, which have their own particular style.

John Gillow, who spoke to TMA/SC in February ’08 on “Embroidered Textiles of the Sindh Desert” to great acclaim, has been visiting Africa for more than thirty years collecting an enormous range of woven and embroidered textiles. He is author of one of the standard books on the subject "African Textiles" (Thames and Hudson). He will have copies of his book--just out in paperback--to sign, and examples of strip-woven, indigo dyed and shibori decorated textiles from West and North Africa. His exciting slide show will cover the traditional textiles of the whole continent, North, South, East and West. John invites members of TMA/SC to bring examples of African textiles for show & tell.

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