Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Inspiration from the Textile Museum

I thought you would enjoy seeing some more of the exhibit from the Textile Museum of Canada (Toronto). First is this "apron", worn by men from Papua New Guinea. It looks very like similar artifacts from various African countries. I love the black and neutral mini checkerboard that divides up some of the rows, and would love to incorporate something similar into some of my own work. Next is painted barkcloth from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). The barkcloth itself is very much the same as I've been able to find in Uganda, but the artwork is quite different.

This carpet is from Morocco. Utterly gorgeous. Woven by the Berbers, it would have been placed underneath a better quality carpet. It's made from dwarf palm leaves. Don't you love all those half-square triangles. Next is a skirt made by the Dida people of Cote d'Ivoire. I wonder how the motifs were imprinted on the dark background. It looks very much like a resist of some kind.

Lastly is this Nigerian stencil, made from sheet metal that once lined tea chests that came to Nigeria from the Far East. The stencil was used to apply a resist paste made from cassava and yams before the cloth was immersed in an indigo bath. Indigo from Nigeria is still some of the most beautiful in the world. Now the challenge for me is how to take all these wonderful sources of inspiration, not just from the Textile Museum, but from all the artifacts and photos I've been collecting over the last few years, and incorporate them in my own work. For the first time in many years, I have a long stretch of three months in front of me with no commitments. Well, just a few. And this is how I plan to spend my time. Working improvisationally - the work of people like Jean Wells, Rayna Gilman and Gwen Marston is mentoring me in this latest endeavour - with African motifs and designs as inspiration, to make my own work. I have the time, the ideas, the space, and the inspiration. Nothing to stop me except my own self. Here I go . . .


  1. Those are all really interesting pieces, but that stencil has my mind whirling with ideas! Have fun with your playtime - I`m looking forward to seeing what comes next!

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed seeing them, and would love to hear what you're thinking about regarding that stencil. And I'll be posting some of my new work very soon. Stay tuned . . .