Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Store visit - LavaLava

We're having a good dose of African style this week, following up Monday's post with these pics from my recent store visit to LavaLava at the V&A Waterfront.
LavaLava is an absolute treasure trove of fabrics from all over Africa, including Ghana, Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast. I took some pics of the fabrics that caught my eye, and the owner, Naomi Weir, has kindly given us some insight into their origins and production.
These traditional Masai shukas from Kenya are sold in 2 m lengths off the roll. Masai fabrics usually feature this incredibly vibrant red, as this is the colour traditionally associated with power.

I love this fishy print on cotton, made using traditional batik methods. Wax is applied to cloth using hand-carved copper rollers, then the cloth is immersed into a dye bath several times, after which the wax is washed off and the print is complete.
These vibrant wax prints are imported from Ghana, Mali and the Ivory Coast, and are sold in traditional 6 yard lengths.
The wax block prints are printed in the same way as the batiks, but hand-carved wooden stamps are used to block colour onto the base design. There are some of these wooden stamps on display at LavaLava too.

LavaLava also sells a range of South African fabrics, including isiShweshe prints and some hand painted fabrics too.

I rather liked the Delicious Monster print by local outfit Lula.

Next time you're at the Waterfront, take some time to visit LavaLava. Textile nuts, be prepared to spend a while there!

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