As usual the brief was to encourage children and young people from 7 to 18 to learn and use textile craft techniques to make something, possibly with links to African history and culture.
|A series of coasters embroidered in long stitch on canvas with Adinkra symbols, bound with African fabrics.|
As a great fan and lover of embroidery, something involving embroidery was for me naturally on the agenda from the start. Running a workshop on a drop-in basis carries the risk of not knowing in advance the average ability/knowledge of your audience, in which case it is safer to assume none.
Activities based on sewing, had previously had a mixed reception: some children loved the challenge, some didn't. The apparent or real complexity of some of the embroidery stitches and styles can be off-putting, especially for children, who are generally looking for quick results that offer satisfaction and a sense of achievement and self-affirmation.
Long stitch kits are usually popular with children as they offer the possibility to quickly fill a simple design with an uncomplicated stitch in order to decorate small items that have a practical use as well. Things like a picture frame, a book cover and so on.
|Bookmark Long stitch kit embroidered in wool on canvas|
A quick useful resource can be found on this link
http://www.adinkra.org/htmls/list.htm but, a good and more substantial starting point can also be found here
Welcome to Adire African Textiles gallery
I decided to choose some symbols that I thought would be both appealing to children for their meaning and simple to reproduce:
Here are some of the initial sketches and drawings...
The next step consisted in translating the symbols into long stitch patterns that could be embroidered
|Translating symbols into long stitch patterns|
|One of the coasters embroidered in long stitch on canvas with the "royalty" symbol|