Latest news from The African Fabric Shop:
25 Sep 2020
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Janice Gunner selects limited edition fabrics

+ NEW mud cloth from Mali
+ World Textile Days going ahead as planned
+ follow our Instagram feed

Scroll down for our newest products and stories...

NEW Janice Gunner limited edition fabrics

Fabric selecting by WhatsApp
Problem: The African Fabric Shop needs new Janice Gunner limited edition fabric packs on the website. But with COVID restrictions, Janice is stuck in London and we're locked down in Yorkshire.

Solution: Magie and Janice spend a chaotic day auditioning and selecting fabrics via WhatsApp video call.

Result: Award-winning textile artist and quilter Janice Gunner has put together an inspiring new collection of fabric packs - on the website now!

What's in Janice Gunner limited edition pack?

  • 7 African fabrics - usually fat quarters, some panels - all personally chosen by Janice
  • Great colour combinations
  • Hand-dyed batiks and indigos from West Africa
  • Handprinted and hand-dyed fabrics from South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • African wax prints - new and classic designs
  • Some rare, vintage African wax prints - but be quick!
  • All fabrics are 100% cotton
  • PLUS: all packs include an inspiring 'idea sheet' by Janice Gunner

View and buy: Janice Gunner limited edition packs

Janice Gunner and Magie:
Selecting fabrics by WhatsApp


Janice Gunner Graduate Showcase

Janice has just completed an MA in textiles at the University of the Creative Arts.
View: Janice Gunner's Portfolio

NEW mud cloths from Mali:
Handwoven and handpainted

More bad news from Mali.
After years of continuous jihadist and Tuareg insurgency, in August a military coup deposed the president.
For us, the continued chaos means two things.
We don't know when - or even if - we'll travel in Mali again.
And sourcing our genuine handwoven, handpainted mud cloth is getting even tougher.
For now, we're lucky. Our good friend textile trader Eric Boateng in Accra is well connected and we still have a few very nice cloths in stock. Be quick, though.
View and buy: genuine mud cloth from Mali
So, how do they make mud cloth?
Read our story: Artistry in Mud

Top: Two of our newest mud cloths
Bottom: Mud cloths drying in the sun,
Endé, Mali
© Robert Irwin

World Textile Days: planning to go ahead - please check before departing

Ready for some good news? Are you sitting comfortably?
We are still planning to go ahead with our two remaining World Textile Days in October.
The venues are keen. We're keen. Hopefully you are too and we'll all enjoy as normal a day as possible.

World Textile Day West | Sat 3 Oct. 10-4
Remember, the Saltford Community Café will be open for the best bacon sandwiches in the West Country!
Saltford Hall, Wedmore Rd, Saltford, Bristol, BS31 3BY

World Textile Day Wales | Sat 24 Oct. 10-4
Sorry, no café in the venue, but plenty of options in the town.
Minerva Arts Centre, High St, Llanidloes, SY18 6BY

Revised programme for both events
Obviously, we'll be taking some COVID precautions:
  • Hall capacity restricted - please be patient
  • Monitored entry and exit
  • One way system
  • Social distancing and face masks required
  • Sorry, but our planned programme of talks is suspended until next year

IMPORTANT: check before departing
Of course, we could still be forced to cancel at the last minute. So please check our websites before you depart: |

Abdoulaye Konaté video:
The brilliant colour of textiles

Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté has long been inspired by West African textile traditions.
Recently we received a 'thank you' email from a customer, who passed on some links to short films about African artists - including an excellent 24 minute documentary about Konaté and his work.
YouTube: Abdoulaye Konaté - The brilliant colour of textiles

Non à la Charia á Tombouctou
© Abdoulaye Konaté

Recycled glass beads meet ethical fashion

One of the great delights of selling to ethical creators is seeing their finished goods.
Recently Robin Gnehm, founder of the small Swiss fashion brand Nikin, asked us about the recycled bottle glass beads we buy from our friend Oklah Tetteh in Koforidua, Ghana.
As a brand, Nikin is about as green as it gets - planting one tree for every product they sell.
From that conversation Nikin created these beautifully designed macrame bracelets featuring Oklah's beads.
So, why not check them out? You'll get a lovely bracelet and the planet will get a lovely tree!

Nikin Tree Bracelet:
One tree planted for every product sold

View and buy: Nikin Tree Bracelet

What's on our Instagram feed? Tips, news, stories, ideas and inspiration!

If you're not following us on Instagram, you really should be. Here's why.
COVID means you won't find us at shows and events and the shop is closed to visitors.
We're keeping the website up-to-date and well stocked, of course.
But for instant communication - not just our newest fabrics, but our newest ideas and latest musings - Instagram is briliant.
It might be Jenny's tips for making a simple cushion. Maybe Magie's inspiring you with her new top. Bob might be showing off his log cabin quilt blocks. Or you might pick up on an interesting story we're following.
We're doing more and more on Instagram these days. So don't miss out.
African Fabric Shop on Instagram

What lovely feedback... thank you!

Sometimes the feedback we get from delighted customers is just too nice not to share.

Good morning, Magie:
I just wanted to write and say how lovely the vintage kente scraps and all the beadwork I bought is! Stunning quality. I will be ordering more delights after payday. I love getting parcels from the African Fabric Shop. It's like Christmas morning unwrapping your presents! 
Thank you!

African sites threatened by climate change

The Great Mosque at Djenné in Mali - the largest mud-built building in the world - dates from the 3rd century BC. It's truly astounding. So are the 2,000 or so other mud buildings that make up the oldest parts of the town.
Repairing these buildings is an ongoing task. Like painting the Sydney harbour bridge, it never ends.
To do the job properly, the masonry workers need a particular type of top quality local mud.
Today climate change has hammered the mud supply badly - putting Djenné's already threatened buildings in even more danger of demise and collapse.
And that's not all. According to a recent study, other significant sites across Africa are also in danger - again, due to climate change.
Link: Full story on BBC

The Great Mosque
in Djenné, Mali:

 © Robert Irwin

Reparing mud architecture
in Djenné, Mali:
© Robert Irwiin
For a full listing of African Fabric Shop events, refer to our website:
Copyright © 2020 The African Fabric Shop, All rights reserved.

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