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.