Our speaker this month was Magie Relph from the African Fabric Shop, and while she openly admitted (with a smile) that this was an opportunity to buy African Fabrics, her talk 'Under African Skies' concentrated on the methods of production used to create the fantastic patterned cloths she had brought with her, and her (business) relationships with the people that make them.
First we were treated to this Indigo dyed stitch resist fabric, which we could handle and feel the softness, other wax resist dyed cloths were quite firm to handle as they still had a residue of wax in them.
Magie brought examples of all the fabrics she talked about, but also had images, so that we could see the conditions under which the cloths are dyed.
Magie talked primarily about cloths dyed in The Gambia, and Ghana. Often wax resist techniques are used, but the 'signature' of each designer / maker can be seen in the different ways that fabrics are pleated, stitched or the melted wax is applied to the fabric to create a resist.
This stamp is made of upholstery foam, but often wooden stamps are used to apply the wax. A lifetime of experience is used to ensure that the paraffin wax is at the correct temperature. Electric wax pots - and running water - are not readily to hand.
The base fabric is generally a white, 100% cotton damask weave fabric imported from China.
This fabric has been dyed more than once. with a background dyeing before a wax resist has been added and over - dyed.
This was more of a splatter technique, but the bold use of colour made it a delight to behold.
Magie also explained how one length of fabric can be dyed using different techniques along its length to create the most wonderful patterns - and to demonstrate, she was wearing a dress made from just such a fabric, with butterflies starting on the front, and fluttering all down the back of the dress.
This was a very interesting talk, and covered so much more about all the different methods used (did I mention it's mainly indigo dyeing and pounded Kola nut?) and yes, many of us did take advantage of the shopping opportunity also available!
In other news. . .
Young Embroiderers meet at Burton Stone Lane in the Easter holidays on 12th and 13th April, when the theme will be 'Hearts and Buttons'. Click here or on the tab above for contact details.
Bursary Application forms are available from Sue Giles.
Morning stitch club is open to everyone on the morning of the branch meeting. See the About us section for more details, or click here. This month the topic was painted bondaweb - it will be something new next month.
Next year will be our branch Exhibition year. We are moving further afield this time, and will be at the Bridlington Spa, June 1st to 6th 2018 (don't turn up a year early!).
Don't forget the branch has a Facebook page. there's a link at the right hand side of this page, or you can click here.
Our competition this month was for 'Best Commercial Design'. Pauline won the prize with her wonderful blackbirds.
The design came from the book 'Stitched Textiles: Birds' by Rachel Sumner.
The next competition - The Chairman's Competition' will be judged at the July meeting. The theme this year is Blackwork.