Piece no. 2 from me. Raffia is my cloth this time. Once again I'm in The Congo - but in the Kuba or Kasia region - towards the south of the country. There are a number of different types of kuba cloth. Embriodered, Applique and 'velvet' or cut pile. They are all made from raffia cloth. Raffia cloth is difficult to weave and as raffia fibre cannot be plied a woven piece of raffia can only be as large and the longest length of raffia fibre. The cut-pile cloth is the hardest to make and now the hardest to find as a new cloth.
I have combined two types of kuba cloth here - embroidered and velvet, featuring a small piece of velvet on a background of 'embroidered' cloth. To imitate the embroidery I have stitched rayon yarn onto the tea- dyed background. (Best thing to do with tea in my opinion!!)
Plain Raffia cloth was once used a currency. 3 m long embroidered and appliquéd Kuba cloths are used as dance skirts in ceremonies.
2014 The Journey continues
Our experiences as a group over the last two years has help develop and inform our direction of travel - our first exhibition this year (Veldhoven October 2013) will be followed by two more in 2014; London in early April for the 2012 pieces and Beaujolais in Mid April for the 2013 series.
We move forward in 2014 maintaining the same size for our work (A3 30x42 cm or 12 x17 inches); after some discussion the group has determined that an open theme of 'The earth' will be the theme for this year. This will give us each the opportunity to interpret the theme in our own way to produce a series of six pieces, one every two months.