During F.A.S.T. we will visit partners in various towns within the country to learn about, try out and discuss working with the following traditional textile techniques such as the following:
Typical in the Gonja region, hand-woven cloth is a highly skilled craft with equally skilled weavers and found to be incomparable in this particular region of Ghana. The strip-woven cloth is made up of dyed yarn using cotton, which using a resist-dye technique using vegetable dyes including indigo. They are woven into unique patterns on which traditionally bare meanings, onto narrow strips. These strips have been created with the use of foot pedal, double-heddle looms – an ancient technique passed down through fathers.
The leaves from the Garra plant (West Africa’s wild indigo plant) are first harvested, then beaten, then fermented for several days in dye-pits about six or seven feet deep. Cotton yarn is then dipped repeatedly, by the artisan skilled dyers, until it oxidises, changing from the green of the Garra to an intense often black blue. This is then woven into cotton for making into garments
This wax resist technique, brought to West Africa in the C19th for Black Dutchmen, is used in producing graphic designs onto cloth. Using hot liquid wax, cold dye baths a block design is hand-painted on to cloth in a technique leaving a fine crack within the artwork so typical of batik work and highly desirable by fabric buyers.
Other techniques that may be viewed on the mission trip includes shoe-making, bag making, ancient brass-casting for jewellery making developed by the Ashanti tribe as well as using local raffia materials used most recently for bag and even shoe products.