Now on YouTube: How to reshape a Bolga basket

When we post out our fantastic made in Ghana fair trade Bolga baskets, we send them flattened and wrapped in bubble wrap: 'Flat as a hat,' in Bob's words.

Our baskets are so well made that reshaping them to perfection is easy and only takes a few minutes.

To show you how, Bob has just published on You Tube a short video: How to reshape a Bolga basket.

View: Bolga Fair Trade Baskets

NEW Bolga basket design:
Nyariga shopping basket

Our beautiful Nyariga shopping baskets are hand-woven near Bolgatanga in the north of Ghana.

They are similar to our regular oval shopping baskets, with a stylish, up-swept 'wing' shape to the coiled rim.

These baskets are woven in one piece, so there is no stitched seam to wear out. This means your fair-trade Nyariga shopping basket will survive many years of constant use.

Plus, the leather handles add strenth, comfort and beauty to your colourful and functional Bolga basket.

  • Great for workshops: sits nicely behind your driver's seat
  • Great for shopping: carry everything from potatoes to firewood

View: Nyariga Shopping Baskets


Nyariga shopping baskets from Bolgatanga in northern Ghana

Bob and trusted 'aide-de-camp' Okalah
after a long day of basket shopping in Bolga

NEW Amafu hand-dyed fabrics from South Africa

Designer Glenda Kirkiridis and her team of dyers have really out done themselves with this latest batch of hand-dyed, hand-printed cotton fabrics from South Africa.

Great designs. Great colours.

View and buy: Amafu hand-dyed fabrics

Click to order Amafu fabrics

Heffalump Turquoise Blue

Click to order Amafu fabrics

Fine Animals Golden Glow

NEW : Eco-friendly bags made from recycled plastic water sachets in Ghana

Despite their 'Trashy' label, these bags are far from trashy.

Yes, they start out as trash: the discarded purified water sachets that litter West Africa.

But beyond that sad beginning, these bags are truly astounding.

  • Brilliant, practical designs
  • Light and flexible
  • Strong and durable
  • Washable
  • And very cool - at least we think so!

Plus: The Trashy Bag project now employs over 50 Ghanaians - most of them women.

Trashy Bags: Great products, great philosophy, great future!

Read the full story: Trashy Recycled Bags

Click to order recycled plastic bag

Strong, practical and cool: Our Trashy 'Smart' Bag

NEW indigo cloths: wow factor

We love indigo!

On our travels in West Africa, we're always looking for great new indigo cloths.

Recently - well, back in December, actually - we travelled up the River Gambia to the remote town of Bassé and the even more remote village of Samé. That's where we found the lumo or weekly market, where traders gather from as far afield as Mali, Senegal and Guinea to sell their treasures. You'll find everything there from goats to ground nuts and - bingo! - indigo cloths.

View and buy: Vintage Mossi indigo

View and buy: Indigo damask cloth from Guinea

View and buy: Hand-woven indigo cloths from Mali

Vintage Mossi indigo cloth
from Burkina Faso

Click to order vintage mossi indigo

Indigo damask cloth
from Guinea

Click to order indigo damask cloth

Another phenomenal World Textile Day in Scotland: Thank you, all

Everytime we take our World Textile Day 'north of the border' we end up totally exhausted from trying to keep up to the manic pace set by Scotland's textile fanatics.

June 21 saw our third incredible World Textile Day Scotland in Bridge of Allan.

The visitor turnout was fantastic. For John Gillow's morning lecture on Islamic Textiles we had 107 seated with a few standees at the back. Meanwhile, another 40 people contented themselves with shopping and devouring home-made cakes in the main exhibition hall. Martin Conlan's afternoon talk on Spiritual Textiles of South West China was equally brilliant and well attended.

Alway time for a cuppa and a chin-wag

The buzz around the hall all day was really something, as visitors enjoyed the friendly, laid-back atmosphere: a far cry from the big, commercial quilt and textile shows we're used to. This is really what sets World Textile Day apart.

There's always time for a cuppa and a chin-wag about an interesting textile or artefact - maybe a hand-dyed batik from Africa, a tribal collectable from China or an indigenous costume from Afghanistan.

Thank you Session Quilters

A lot of the day's success is always due to our wonderful hosts - the Divas of Session Quilters. Their welcome and their cakes were equally superb.

Mark your calendars for next year

World Textile Day Scotland: Saturday 20 Jun 2015.

Meanwhile, our two remaining World Textile Days in 2014 are:

  • 20 Sep - East of England
  • 1 Nov - West of England

More info: www.worldtextileday.co.uk


Fantastic fabrics at World Textile Day Scotland
in Bridge of Allan on 21 June

And don't forget those cakes:
The Divas of Session Quilters ready for catering action!

Dorita Smith

Lone Star

Dorita is a very talented and prolific quilter. She's just emailed some images of some recent creations, including this stunning piece featuring our colourful African wax print fabrics.

Dorita is truly inspired by African wax print. In fact, we've featured two of her quilts in our book African Wax Print: A Textile Journey.

View: African wax print fabrics.

Our acclaimed book

African Wax Print: A Textile Journey

African wax print holds a very special place in Magie's heart. When she first ventured into the chaos of an African market in 1984, African wax print fabric just grabbed her. It hasn't let go since.

Not only does Magie use African wax print fabric in her work as a textile artist, she has done extensive research into its history, manufacture, design, use and importance as an icon of African style.

So here we have it: the only book devoted exclusively to African wax print fabric!

Only £13.95

I love this book. It is interesting, informative, funny, thought provoking. The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Spring 2011.

Magie and Bob took me on a magical journey to Africa through not only their words, but the images and inspirational textile art that illustrate their story. A fabric feast to make your mouth water. Janice Gunner, stitched textile artist and author of Shibori for Textile Artists.

The African Fabric Shop Supports the Dream Children's Home in Kenya

Africa is very important to us and we travel there as often as we can to source new fabrics, beads and baskets. In addition to supporting small-scale craft producers, we try to give a bit more back to Africa by donating to small African charities.

On Magie's latest trip to Kenya she visited the Dream Children's Home in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. This inspiring project provides shelter, food, clothing, medical care, counselling, education and hope for needy orphans who have nowhere else to turn.

We are now supporting the Dream Children's Home directly through our own modest donation programme. For every sale of our Safari and Skin Print fabrics and Safari Print Adventrue Packs, we donate a percentage to this very worthy cause.

Find our more: www.dreamchildrenshome-kenya-orphanage.org

And donate directly: www.betterplace.org

Using African Fabrics

Thanks to many of my loyal and creative customers, I've been collecting digital images of quilts, wallhangings, clothing, bags - you name it! - all demonstrating how you can use African fabrics in your work.

To show these images to the world, I've created a new page on the website: Using African Fabrics

I'm going to try (!) to keep this page up-to-date with new images as my customers create new and exciting things.