Monday, December 12, 2016

Amethyst River Flow

Not too long ago, I took a trip with my camera to Aburi Botanical Gardens, a somewhat neglected, but still beautiful botanical garden outside of Accra. The gardens were full of great texture, especially the mosses and rocks.  I used these photographs as a jumping point to make a series of fabric designs. Amethyst River Flow was the version of the design I chose to make into a wrap dress from poly crepe de chine.  The fabric is pretty light weight and has good drape. 
Oh, and FREE SHIPPING world wide until 12:00 EST 12/13.

See this fabric in my shop here

See this fabric in my shop here

See this fabric in my shop here


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Art Deco PJs

My youngest boy loves lounge wear. Playing on his computer or with his video games are his favorite things to do after jumping on the trampoline.  When he gets home from school, he just wants to put on something soft and comfy.  So, as soon as he saw a sample of Spoonflower's fleece he wanted something made in it.  It is very soft and not too heavy to wear.  I let him select any of my designs and he picked the turquoise and green shades of Modern Style Art Deco Greens and Japanese Fan Scale Dots Green and Turquoise because the geometric patterns appealed to him and the colors made him happy. 
You can purchase almost the same thing in a pre-printed pattern from Sprout Patterns--the Jasper Pajamas and the Kids Recess Raglan or for a bigger sized top I would suggest the Lane Raglan
While you are at Sprout Patterns get in on the 50% off Sale of the Holiday Stockings and Lined Zipper Pouches 'til 11/9.  Use code BOGOFQ.  You still have enough time to make them for gifts and they are super easy.  (I shared making some of these pouches in an earlier post.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Textiles in Tema and other reasons to go there

Kente cloth: Hand woven in strips and stitched together
Recently I went to Tema, a large, industrial port town near Accra.  One of the guidebooks suggests that there is no reason to visit Tema.  Maybe that is true for the casual tourist.  Tema has a lot to offer to a person who lives here.  You will need to bring a cooler. 

If you can get up early, the International fish market or the local makes a great stop.  The fish, shellfish and other offerings are fresh and you can get your items deboned for a small fee.  Other must see markets are a couple of Korean grocery stores and Malicat (also known as Calumet), the German butcher shop. The German butcher absolutely has the best sausages and frankfurters I have had in Ghana. 
Lawrence and his assistant in their shop
My friends and I focused on textiles during this trip to Tema.  Our first fabric stop was to Lawrence and his kente shop.  Sometimes members of his workshop come to Accra to craft markets but only at the studio can you see the full range of products and the kente weavers.  In the large chests are bedspread sized kente that chief wear during special occasions.
discussing the embroidered elements in this teal kente
Our next stop was an open air batik studio.  One of our group ordered a personalized batik print from Eveline's batik studio.  Personalized batiks are a great way to get an affordable fabric for a small group.

The batik workshop

At the end of a busy morning, the place I like to go to relax is the garden-like atmosphere of Arirang, a Korean Restaurant.

Last Post update: Congratulations to KG who won the 500th design give away!
Ironing the batik with an old fashioned metal iron

Eveline owns the shop, she is holding up some batik

dye buckets and boiling kettles

Rooster resting on an upside-down grocery cart

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Line of Ghana Fantastic Floral Series and Giveaway

This past week, I released my 500th design for sale at my Spoonflower shop.  I am giving away 2 yards of my fabric--any fabric, any of my designs.  To enter the drawing, comment on your favorite fabric either in my shop or on this post.  For a second entry, give it a heart on Spoonflower.  Contest ends Friday, October 14. Featured in the photo, one of my new designs, Ghana Fantastic Floral on Black Petite.
Ghana Fantastic Floral Black Petite

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NesKael Fashion show

Last Friday I  attended the Neskael Corporate Fashion show a precursor to Ghana Fashion week happening October 21-23.  The focus of the Neskael show was to promote the use of African textiles, particularly Ghanaian fabrics, in the workplace.  It is custom to wear African print in the office environment on Fridays.  The rest of the week most people in the workplace wear Western style business clothes.  One of the goals of the Neskael Corporate Fashion show is to promote greater use of African textiles during the week which in turn is meant to encourage economic development.  The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative arts is also promoting the idea and was one of the patrons of the event.
Several Ghanaian textiles were highlighted in the event.  GTP, a African wax printer in Ghana and one of the designers in the show, has line of fabrics 100% Ghanaian. In this line, the cotton used is grown, milled and printed in various regions of Ghana.  The collection from The Tailor used a grey and white paisley design from Woodin, another Ghanaian fabric printer.  The designer, Safora, uses the woven material of a traditional smock popular here, called a fugu or batakari. 
The models for each designer of clothing or accessories did a traditional walk down the catwalk to party music.  At the end of the each collection's presentation, the models grouped together to do a dance or other display.  I enjoyed this so much I put together a little video of some of these dances.  This also gives you an opportunity to see the clothes without viewing the entire presentation.  Also included in the video is a snippet of the performance from guest artist Sherifa Gunu.  Not all designers or performers at the event are included in the video.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ghanian Artist Spotlight: Seth Clottey and Reflections Class

Seth Clottey introducing his painting philosophy
This past week I had the pleasure of attending another Eat and Paint event.  At these events, a well-known guest artist spends an evening with us, sharing his/her painting techniques on a small project.  This event featured Seth Clottey.  Seth graduated from Ghanatta College of Art.  He is a frequent traveler and has exhibited in West Africa, Europe, the United States and Japan.
Seth primarily paints landscapes and is most interested in the play of light on water and reflections.  The theme for our event was a wet city street.
Seth shared with us that when he begins to sketch a design for a new painting, he prefers to begin directly with a pallete knife. He said "pencils are limited," "I 'feel' it with the knife," "the knife allows me to get to the heart of it." A pencil would be too fiddly to be compatible with the gestural and impressionistic quality of his work.  After his initial discussion he allowed us to rough sketch a city scene from memory. 

Painting in oil by Seth Clottey
Next, we blocked in the sky with the pallete knife and then blended the strokes with paint brushes and created a wash for the 'wet' area of the canvas.  We followed this by sketching in suggestions of detail, such as cars, trees, stories of buildings and people.
At this point we took a break for our gourmet dinner.  Dinner consists of bite size gourmet items and drink of choice.  It is quite tasty with many different flavors.  The break is also a nice time to walk around and see how others are coming on their canvas.

Discussing how to block out your sketch in paint
We finished the evening creating highlights and reflections with the pallet knife and filling in some details with the brushes.  Seth's style of painting is quite different from my own work and it expanded my repertoire.  
A Unique Opportunity:  Seth is offering a short term artist in residence program.  In his vision an artist would come and stay with him for a time and he would share his techniques while you paint together.  If you are interested in more information, please contact him at (+233) 244 613 189 or at his gmail account, lyvnright.
There will be a second workshop available on October 4th.  Contact Eat and Paint for reservations.
my sketch and starting to fill in some details

break for dinner--delicious gourmet food

paintings in progress

my painting finished for the night

Painting in oil by Seth Clottey

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Anna dress

Sprout Patterns pre-prints a pattern on fabric using Spoonflower fabric designs and lays it out perfectly.  I have made Sprout Pattern, Short Anna Dress, which is the design of By Hand London. I chose to make in using my Hexie Roses Deep Hues pattern in cotton poplin.  The cotton poplin has a nice hand and is a good fabric for hot weather.  There is a long skirted version available as well. 
When you purchase the pre printed pattern, you also receive a link to sewing directions and the pattern, should you want to create it again.  I found the directions clear and sewing the Short Ana Dress simple.  Sprout also offers a 'White Glove Service', that is, you can pay an additional fee to have select patterns sewn for you.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Art Swap - USA edition

I am friends with a lot of terrific artists from the art doll making community.  One of these friends suggested a paper based swap and I jumped at the opportunity.  I sent each of my partners a different 1ft x 2ft wallpaper sheet from my designs.  In return, these treasures arrived in the mail.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Untitled by Cody Goodin, digital image

Untitled by Dot Lewallen, bead, marker, ink, paper collage

'Doodle Do' by Emily Eckel, linocut

'Out in the Garden' by Karen Mallory, collage
Birch Trees by Judi Wellnitz, mixed media on paper

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Christmas in August

The traditional summer months of the United States are actually the coolest months of the year in Ghana. It's the closest thing to winter here although it is known as the rainy season.  Once you are acclimated to the local climate it actually feels cool at night.
So, thinking of 'winter', I began playing with some cartoon style Santas and seasonal greenery of a United States Christmas time.  The designs are listed clockwise:

Cartoon Santa Vintage Styles

Cartoon Black Santa Head on Green and Stars

Christmas Holiday Décor

Painterly Christmas Holiday Décor

A vintage Christmas design contest has begun at Spoonflower.  I have no design in this contest but the entries are very good.  Please consider voting

Continuing on the winter theme, I went through my Christmas Card stash and noticed that I still have a few cards left from Senegal.  These became my canvas for some fun new Christmas card collages.

Friday, June 17, 2016


While visiting Ames, Iowa my family stopped by the Ames Main Street Farmer's Market (every Saturday 8-12) to pick up some veggies that are hard to get in Ghana.  It's definitely recommended if you find yourself in Ames. My daughter decided to wear her new Seahorse outfit designed by mom to the farmer's market. 
I created the seahorse design during Spoonflower's design a day block print daily prompt back in March.  This week Spoonflower posted a seahorse ditsy weekly challenge prompt so I used that print to create the ditsy print.  I also used the block print to create another coordinating seahorse print. The material was then printed on Organic Cotton Knit.
I designed the shirt to have a curved hem which is slightly longer in the back.  Instead of traditional sleeves I used a ruffle.  The shorts also have a curved hem in front in back.  I have further plans for a dress and wide pants.
Fabric info: Seahorse Symphony Ditsy on Peach for her shirt and the contrasting ruffle is made with Japanese Fan Scale Dots Green and Teal.  Her shorts are made with the coordinating fabric Seahorse Symphony on the Reef on Peach

Seahorse Symphony Ditsy on Peach
Japanese Fan Scale Dots Green and Teal
Seahorse Symphony on the Reef on Peach

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ghanian Artist Spotlight: Tei Huagie and Circles Class

The artist, Tei Haugie, in one of his Clothoncloth pants
Tei Huagie is a man of many talents.   He is an environmentalist, clothing designer, artist, and sculptor. He also believes that he is ethically responsible for helping to clean up the environment.  Huagie puts this all in action through is many endeavors.  He is the co-founder of RECNOWA, Recycle Not A Waste, an organization dedicated to reusing waste materials into functional, artistic new items.  His Clothoncloth project reuses fabric print manufacturing and tailor extras to create new fabric.  He designs this new fabric to emphasize flow and movement for use in high fashion clothing. 
Huagie was trained at Ghanatta College of Arts and Design.  One can see the effects of his training through his inventive recycled sculpture and his dynamic composition in his highly textured canvases.  His artwork has been exhibited nationally as well as in Germany, the U.S. and Canada.
Recycled metal sculpture 'sewn' with copper wire & acrylic canvases
The intent for tonight's workshop with Huagie was to work with his concept of circles on canvas.  In his view, 'The circle symbol meaning is universal, sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy, and the inclusivity of the universe.' He went on to show us how he develops his canvases by first sketching a composition and then painting an base layer of color.  He then may further break up the original composition and reinterpret it with circles.
Huagie frequently uses circular shaped objects in his environment, such as bottle caps, lids or bubble wrap to apply the shapes to the painting.  He also makes heavy use of the palette knife to add dimension to the canvas. 
Tei Haugie's acrylic impasto canvas paintings
strove to use his framework within my canvas during the class but I just could not quite put on enough paint for that impasto look.  It was fun to play with another artist's framework.  Thanks to Eat and Paint for organizing the workshop.  Not only do I enjoy an occasional night off to paint but I also enjoy the gourmet dinner!

My sketch, underpainting & beginning to add the circles
Our class hard at work
my neighboring student with her painting inspired by Venetian masks
My finished canvas, 20 x 40 cm

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hexies: A Long Time Coming

Just finished my quilt top of African Wax hexies.  The colors are a little more intense and pure than appear in this photo. I have been gathering materials, cutting out hexies and sewing for most of a year now.  I like a generous quilt so this quilt top is a little larger than a king size is usually but this one is for a queen bed.  I hope to find someone with a long arm to quilt the layers for me.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Getting Ready for the Kentucky Derby

One of the families in Ghana has decided to host a Kentucky Derby event.  We can not go to the actual derby of course, but we are all looking forward to this event with the seriousness of people going to the real thing.  This is the first derby for many of us.  The women have been searching for the perfect hat in the local markets and visiting milliners.  Click here to check out some local hats

I found a local fabric shop with sinamay, a woven, flexible plant material used in hat making, and decided to try to make my own fascinator.  Dee's videos were super helpful on sinamay and other hat making information.  Aside from the feathers, I crafted all of the items on my hat including the flower.  The peach flower is made from cut shapes of peach polyester and cream silk.  I stiffened the fabric with Stiffy and sewed the layers together.  Coiled wire rimmed ribbons make the little silver flowers peaking out.

The outfit is just as important as the hat, and I wanted to highlight one of my fabric designs.  This box pleat skirt is made from my Boho Blossoms Elegant Blush and Sage Petite in Organic Cotton Sateen Ultra. 
And lastly, SALE!
Get 15% off of yardage of any fabrics through 10 am, May 9th EDT.