Pattern+Place: Colorful Kente Cloth from Ghana
Known for it’s bright, bold colors and geometric patterns, Kente cloth is one of the most recognizable textiles from Africa. Kente cloth weaving originated from the Ashanti Kingdom and Akan people of Southern Ghana. Historically it was worn by royalty and prestigious people for important occasions. With the advent of commercially woven cloths, it is now seen on everyday clothing and items which some feel has diluted the cultural importance of the art form.
Traditional weaving of Kente cloth is done in very long 4″ strips. Then, the strips are then sewn together to make fabric. The pattern and color usage are are highly symbolic. For instance, black represents maturation and an intensified spiritual renewal, and pink is associated with feminine aspects of life.
The weaving is a laborious process traditionally woven only by males. One long 4″ wide by approximate 5′ long strip can take at least a day to weave using the traditional loams. Watching craftsman weave the Kente provides a true appreciation for the art form.
Akan People of Southern Ghana and Ivory Coast
Introduction to Kente Weaving in Ghana – video
Ghana’s Kente Cloth – video
Kente Colors by Debbi Chocolate – wonderful children’s book describing the fabric’s colors, patterns and more
The Spider Weave by Margaret Musgrove (Author) , Julia Cairns (Illustrator) – children’s book that gorgeously depicts the story of how Kente cloth came to be.
Kente Cloth Paper Weaving Art Project from United Art and Ed – Geared for kids but just as entertaining for adults, this is a the perfect craft project to create a paper weaving inspired by Kente cloth.
Kente Cloth Inspired Postcards and Notecards from Wanderlust Designer