Cloth is handmade with rich textures of vintage hand-woven
raffia cloth from the Kuba people of the Congo. Flat-weave cloth
is woven of fibers from the raffia-palm leaves. Left in its
natural color or dyed with organic red, brown and ochre dyes,
it is sewn into applique and reverse-applique, and traditionally
used in long wrap-around dancing skirts. Geometric patterns
are formed by outlining areas of pile of different colors with
is a long established tradition among the Bamana people who
inhabit a large area to the east and north of Bamako in Mali.
Each piece is made of 100% cotton, and is completely hand-made.
First, cotton thread is woven into panels, usually on a hand-held
loom. Each panel is sewn together and, using a centuries old
process, numerous applications of various plant juices/teas
and mud are applied to dye the cloth, left to dry and then often
dipped again. The process may take several weeks from start
Worsted yarn uses the best fleece from the back of the sheep.
It is the longest, strongest and richest in lanolin. The fibers
are combed to lie flat and spun in two plys, creating a "3
diameter run" piece of yarn. It appears neater and "tighter"
on a spool than woolen yarn.
is a lengthy process and demands constant close attention. After
eight or nine days in a warm, dry place cocoons are steamed
or baked, and dipped into hot water to loosen the tightly woven
filaments. These filaments are unwound onto a spool. Between
five and eight of these super-fine filaments are twisted together
to make one thread. Finally
the silk threads are woven into cloth or used for embroidery
Leather and Suede
- Suede is leather with a soft napped surface giving
it a texture and a softer feel. Leather is made by
drying and tanning hides, pelts and skins of animals, primarily
cows. However, leather is also made from alligator, deer, snake,
alligators, ostriches, goat and sheep, and comes in many grades,
thickness and textures. Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using
ingredients found in vegetable matter, tree bark, and other
such sources. Other varieties are tanned using aluminum salts
mixed with a variety of binders and protein sources, such as
flour, egg yolk, etc. Various processes are used to create special
textures such as embossed and patent leather.