Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tribal Textiles in Zambia
I recently returned from Zambia. While there, I took the opportunity to visit Tribal Textiles, near Mfuwe.
Driving along a bumpy country road lined with trees, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there is a signpost for Tribal Textiles. Turning off the main road, you are greeted by white-washed buildings, lush greenery overhanging wooden benches and stone courtyards. The air is cool and fresh under the shade. We stretched our legs, cramped from the long road-trip and walked through the shop and workshops.
Colors pop off of pillow cases and aprons. Bold geometric shapes and traditional patterns cover everything from bedsheets and curtains, to table runners and other home accessories. Everything is made with 100% cotton, designed and painted individually. I first thought the designs were created using Batik, like in Indonesia. But the designs are made using a starch paste that is sun-dried and then hand-painted. Baking the fabric makes it durable in countless washes. We arrived during the mid-day meal break so we missed out seeing the process, but there's a great little video (by Will Benson) that explains the How To part.