Nigeria, Yoruba Indigo / Gasali Adeyemo, Indigo Dyeing
Gasali Adeyemo, raised in the small village of Ofatedo in Nigeria, loved art and textiles from a young age. His mother, his first and most important teacher, taught him the traditional technique of Adire Eleko, the oldest resist technique in Nigerian culture. Adire Eleko is the process of creating designs using cassava paste (also called yucca), a small broom, and a chicken feather. There are two techniques in Adire, the first is to use a stencil, and the second is to create the patterns by hand. After the pattern is created the piece is dyed and then the cassava is scraped off with a small knife. As well as Adire, Adeyemo creates textiles using two other traditional Yoruba techniques: Batik and Tie-dye. Batik is the process of creating designs using wax. The wax can be applied to the fabric using wood stamps, stencils, or foam rubber. After creating the design on the fabric, the piece is dyed and the wax removed. Tie-Dye is the process of using raffia to tie fabric and then dying the fabric.
Each of the designs Adeyemo uses in his fiber art were passed down through the generations, they each have specific meanings. Depending on which technique he is doing, different designs are used. The design he use are a way to preserve snapshots of daily life, they show what he sees and does in his village. They can also be used to identify the community as Yoruba when they are traveling, the clothing they wear is like an identification card letting people know where they are from. One example of a design is called Ore Merin which means Four Friends. This design represents unity and is often given as a gift for celebrations. Most of the materials Adeyemo uses grow around his village. Cotton is grown near his village and made into the fabric that he uses for his work. The indigo plant grows wild in Nigeria, but only during the rainy season so they have to pick as much as possible while it is growing and then store it so that they can have indigo year round.
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