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See you at World Textile Day
Winter may not be over, but the busy 'spring' season of back-to-back textile events is upon us.
After a wonderful Textiles in Focus in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire (many thanks to Lorna and Dave!), our next event is the Antique Textile Fair in Manchester on Sunday, 2 March - always a great day out!
Our first really big event of the year is our first (of five!) FREE World Textile Days - Saturday 15 March at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes, Wales.
Along with Diane and Jim Gaffney of Textile Traders and our world textile partners, we'll be mounting a great one-day exhibition of world textiles. Some of them will even be for sale!
Our theme this year is The Spirit of the Cloth.
Our two speakers will be world textiles experts John Gillow and Martin Conlan - not to be missed.
Our five World Textile Days in 2014 are:
- 15 Mar - Wales
- 5 Apr - South of England
- 21 Jun - Scotland
- 20 Sep - East of England
- 1 Nov - West of England
More info: www.worldtextileday.co.uk
Llanidloes, Wales : 15 March 2014
Wow! Baskets, baskets and more baskets
Still at last year's prices!
We went a bit crazy on the basket front last month when we were with our great pals Greg and Okalah up north in Bolgatanga.
The quality, variety and colours this year made choosing our baskets harder than ever. Which means we have a house-full of fantastic new baskets.
Even better: for the moment (at least), we've been able to avoid a price increase. So, you can buy this year's baskets at our 2013 prices. Howzat?!
View and buy: Bolgatanga Fair Trade Baskets
NEW hand-dyed batiks on website
We're just back from a fantastically successful buying trip to Ghana. The house is utter chaos with piles of hand-dyed batik all over the place as Magie and Isobel sort through the shipment and Bob photographs new fabrics for the website.
We're really excited about our new collection. In addition to our good friends Esther and Grace, we have some interesting new designs and colourways from Eva and Mercy.
View and buy: Hand-dyed African batik fabrics
NEW African wax prints on website
As many of you know, African wax prints are Magie's great passion. These are the fabrics that she took to heart when she first stepped foot into an African market way back in 1984.
Most of our genuine African wax prints are now proudly 'Made in Ghana' - including our new collection of Duotone wax prints.
Some vintage pieces in our popular Retro Adventure packs are from original UK print works.
We do not sell Chinese copies!
View and buy: African wax print fabrics
View and buy: Duotone wax print fabrics
NEW Kuba cloth and mud cloth
Sourcing these genuine textiles is getting more difficult thse days. Kuba cloth comes from The Congo and mud cloth from Mali - both regions struggling with rebellion and chaos.
We are lucky to have reliable connections, however. So at the moment we are still able to offer genuine Kuba cloth and mud cloth at suprisingly tempting prices.
On our Kuba cloth page, we now have a few rare examples of 'cut-pile' Kuba, as well as the more common 'flat weave' cloths.
View and buy: Kuba cloth
View and buy: Mud cloth
Meet Gregory MacCarthy of the Baba Tree Basket Co.
Greg is our 'basket guru' in Bolgatanga in the far north of Ghana.
Almost everything we know about Bolga baskets and the lives of the weavers who make them comes from Greg and the wonderful Ghanaians he has introduced us to when we have been with him buying baskets in his 'Bolga compound'.
For almost ten years Greg has worked closely with the weavers, helping them improve the design, colours and quality of their fantastic baskets.
His positive impact on the lives of the weavers and their families goes beyond measure.
Not only does he buy many, many baskets for his own highly-principled fair trade business - The Baba Tree Basket Co. - but he helps connect the weavers to a whole new market though other fair trade businesses like The African Fabric Shop.
Greg's most recent amazing feat of ingenuity was in December 2013, when he took ten weavers from Bolga on a skills exchange workshop to the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.
Read about this astounding adventure - and more! : The Baba Tree Facebook page
Click & buy our fair trade Bolgatanga baskets!
Bob has been busy improving the way we display and sell the fantastic selection of baskets on our updated Bolgatanga Fair Trade Baskets pages. We have organised our baskets by shape:
We now have close-up images of each individual basket. You can clearly see the colours and woven designs of each basket, along with the size.
All you need to do is click the 'Add to basket' button and your chosen basket will be on the way!
New UK shipping option
For UK orders weighing more than 1 kg, we now offer two shipping options:
- First Class post / Parcel Force 48: More expensive, but faster.
- Discount Courier, 3 days + delivery: Cheaper, especially for large or heavy parcels.
You can choose your shipping option from the menu on our check out page.
Our acclaimed book
African Wax Print: A Textile Journey
African wax print holds a very special place in Magie's heart. When she first ventured into the chaos of an African market in 1984, African wax print fabric just grabbed her. It hasn't let go since.
Not only does Magie use African wax print fabric in her work as a textile artist, she has done extensive research into its history, manufacture, design, use and importance as an icon of African style.
So here we have it: the only book devoted exclusively to African wax print fabric!
Inspiration: African fabric scrap diary
Magie and Isobel have digging through the off-cuts and scraps again - and creating some funky new projects along the way.
Isobel continues her series of scrap fabric 'vessles'.
Meanwhile, Magie is on a roll making scrap fabric pennants.
No. 1 African Fabric Shop Quilt Challenge
Raising money for Musa's clinic in The Gambia
Our friend Musa Jaiteh lives in Sukuta, The Gambia. We have worked with Musa for almost ten years, since we started buying his wonderful Kola nut and Indigo fabrics. Over the years, many of you have used Musa's fabrics and you've grown to love them as much as we do.
Inspired by a quilt and an idea from our friend Helen Conway and supported by the Knit and Stitch Village show at Uttoxeter, there is now a quilt challenge underway to raise much-needed funds for Musa's community clinic.
The African Fabric Shop Supports the Dream Children's Home in Kenya
Africa is very important to us and we travel there as often as we can to source new fabrics, beads and baskets. In addition to supporting small-scale craft producers, we try to give a bit more back to Africa by donating to small African charities.
On Magie's latest trip to Kenya she visited the Dream Children's Home in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. This inspiring project provides shelter, food, clothing, medical care, counselling, education and hope for needy orphans who have nowhere else to turn.
We are now supporting the Dream Children's Home directly through our own modest donation programme. For every sale of our Safari and Skin Print fabrics and Safari Print Adventrue Packs, we donate a percentage to this very worthy cause.
Find our more: www.dreamchildrenshome-kenya-orphanage.org
And donate directly: www.betterplace.org
Using African Fabrics
Thanks to many of my loyal and creative customers, I've been collecting digital images of quilts, wallhangings, clothing, bags - you name it! - all demonstrating how you can use African fabrics in your work.
To show these images to the world, I've created a new page on the website: Using African Fabrics
I'm going to try (!) to keep this page up-to-date with new images as my customers create new and exciting things.