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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weaving Kente

Back in January, I had the chance to visit some cloth making villages in the Greater Asante Region. I have always been a fan of material/cloth/print so visiting the kente weaving towns was a huge deal for me. I remember as a teen, I asked my mom to get me kente for my 18th birthday. She looked at me like I was crazy. Well, kente is quite expensive for one to just up and buy as a gift for someone.  Plus, my mother being the pure Asante woman she is, could never get with the idea that a "child" can go around wearing kente as if it's just ordinary wear...
All the same, I had a chance to not only purchase my own kente but find out how it is made. Now, Kente cloth is synonymous with the symbol of the Asante people. Originally created to be worn by royals, kente has turned out to be the visible representation of anything Africa related. If in Ghana and you ever said you wanted to visit a kente-weaving village the first response would be: "Bonwire". It is the most popular town to visit if in search of good, quality, unique kente. But what I learned is that there are other kente weaving villages that produce just as good work but are not as recognized. One of those towns is the neigborring village, Adanwomase. I decided to visit Adanwomase because I didn't want to be bombarded as a tourist and I wanted to take an organized tour of how kente is made and sold. Now, don't get me wrong, Bonwire villagers no longer bombard tourists (due to a decree made by the chief of the town). But if you want to be different, visit Adanwomase.
I can't break down the process bit for bit but I must say, it is an absolutely laborious task. Kente is woven from cotton, rayon, or silk thread with the colors of your choice. There is an endless supply of designs that the weaver chooses from to present 12 yards of an intricate piece of work. Kente for men is usually 12 yards and is draped around the body in a toga style. Women wear 6 yards that is cut and sewn into a kaba (blouse) and slit (skirt) style. I have much more respect for the cloth considering the work and time it takes to make each piece. If you're interested in buying kente the price usually starts from 250 cedis and above ($200+). Enjoy!

Spinning the thread

About to weave the thread; this is done on 3 iron rods that measure in 12 yards total. The thread is specially hooked to these rods to prepare for one piece of cloth. So hard and it took forever!

The weaving is usually done by men for traditionally reasons but I had the chance to do it. This is where the thread is designed into strips and later sewn together

Admiring older kente pieces

Met this guy at the visitor's center. He was so infatuated with the creation of kente that he decided to take a few weeks of his vacation to make his own 12 yard piece. And it was looking good!


2 comments:

Yedei said...

you mean "toga" style, not yoga style right? lol! Miss ya!

Ama Kyei said...

@Yedei- awww sheesh, ya'll know what I meant:) I made the change, thanks for actually reading! lol
Miss you more<3

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