A Passion for African Fabrics: Cultured Expressions
Lisa Shepard Stewart is one of TAFA’s pioneer members, joining back in August of 2010. Since then, she has continued to develop her business, offering regular workshops, building community locally in New Jersey, launching her Fabrigasm magazine, and leading textile tours to Africa. Enjoy this glimpse into her colorful and cultural world centered on her passion for African fabrics.
Visit her website and make sure to sign up for her newsletter. She also has a shop on her site that sells supplies. And, if you long to take a cultural trip to Africa, connect with her to find out when the next trip might happen.
There’s something about African Fabrics…
As the owner of Cultured Expressions, I’ve shared my lifelong fabric passion with others through my books, workshops, lectures, special events, merchandise, quilters’ retreats to Jamaica textile tours to Ghana and other SewJourns. And I recently published the fourth issue of FABRIGASM®, the Magazine for Lovers of African Textiles. (Not a big surprise when you consider that Magazine Journalism was one of my favorite courses at FIT, where I earned degrees in Communications and Marketing.)
I learned to sew at age 12, so I’ve always had a “thing” for fabrics of all kinds, and after my first trip to Senegal in 1986, my passion for African fabrics in particular was ignited. I feel their Energy…I imagine the story behind the creators, their choice of colors, textures, symbols…and what inspired them to create. When placed in the hands of a fiber artist, the fabric takes on an added purpose, its story is intensified.
African fabrics have a timeless quality that withstands the usual trend cycles; batiks, bogolan, kente, kuba, and adinkra are never out of style, whether I’m creating a wall hanging, garment, handbag or headwrap – it’s the juxtaposition of ancient fabric techniques applied to contemporary designs that excites my senses – the coarse weave of bogolan, the rich colors of Ghanaian batik, even the earthy scent of kuba affect me on a visceral level, and on a daily basis Something so powerful can’t be confined to a single month, so while I can appreciate the intent behind designation of a “Black History Month”, history is being made all of the time, I’m Black all of the time, so to reserve celebration for the shortest month of the year never really made sense to me.
Through my work, I enjoy sharing the beauty of African fabrics & craft with like-minded people of all backgrounds. Exposing people to positive images of African cultures, beyond the poverty, conflicts, and famine is extremely gratifying. “Feel the fabric…Embrace the Culture” is more than my company’s tagline. It’s become my raison d’être.
From our Sponsors:
- Artist, Organization
Silvia Piza-Tandlich has exhibited her work around the world and runs Galeria Octagono in Costa Rica. Community oriented, all of her work is made by hand, often inspired by themes drawn on from Latin American mythology.View Profile
- Weaving- Home Textiles and Fashion Accessories
Mayamam Weavers, a fair trade cooperative of women in Cajolá, Guatemala, specializes in home textiles and fashion accessories.View Profile
Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts: Festival schedule and a nice display of what's available in her Etsy shop.View Profile
- Asian Folk Art
Turkish Folk Art has an exceptional online shop featuring Central Asian textiles and crafts. While most are vintage, they also support village artisans working in traditional techniques.View Profile
Driven by colour and obsessed with her love/hate relationship with the creative process, Heidi lives to dye...and dies to quilt. She lives in Canada where she stirs up all kinds of fun! She also runs with scissors...View Profile
Ann Ridge sews and sells vintage textiles on Etsy. She specializes in a Korean technique, Chogapko, and her own crazy quilt style. Ann lives in Spain and welcomes commissions.View Profile
- Fair Trade
HoonArts is a Fair Trade effort representing hand-crafted gifts and accessories from Tajikistan and other Central Asian Silk Road countries.View Profile
- Artist, Supplies
Based in Sacramento, California (USA) Barbetta Lockart Contemporary Art – ITSA Studio showcase mixed media art by Barbetta and a rich assortment of supplies from around the world. ITSA Studio has a large selection of ethnic and tribal beads and textiles.View Profile
- MarketPlace: Handwork of India
MarketPlace: Handwork of India, empowering women and breaking the cycle of poverty! Fair Trade and handmade, long-lasting elegance!View Profile
- Gallery, Wholesaler
Afghan Tribal Arts Beads and Textiles, natural gemstones from Afghanistan and vintage textiles, following a regular show route in Southeastern USA.View Profile
- Artist, Teacher
Jane Dunnewold is an artist, teacher and author of surface design techniques. She teaches and lectures internationally and at her studio in San Antonio, Texas.View Profile
- School, Workshops
The Pacific Northwest Art School offers workshops and classes in Fiber Arts, Mixed Media, Painting, and Photography. Whidbey Island, Washington, USA.View Profile
About Rachel Biel
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