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Talks by Magie Relph

Talks for textile, patchwork and quilting groups: or anyone interested in textiles and design

My talks last about 1 hr 15 min. Depending on the talk, I'll show a variety of textiles, artefacts and quilts. All of my talks are 'handson'. You'll actually get to handle the pieces and examine them closeup. Some talks include digital images from our travels and research in Africa.

And don't worry: I always bring along some African fabrics, beads and baskets for sale.

Many groups like to combine a talk with one of my 1/2 day workshops.

Magie Relph at quilt museum in York Magie Relph speaking at the Quilters' Guild Museum, York

A Textile Journey

The creative process is often likened to a journey. 

My journey began when I first went to Africa in 1984 and I'm still travelling the buses and back roads as I research and document Africa's colourful and varied textile traditions.

In this talk, we'll focus on a fabric that has become a defining metaphor of African design, fashion and expression: Africa wax print.

African fabric meets Britain's textile and industrial heritage in a splash of colour and design.

Oh, and a few quilts as well!

Magie Relph with textile map of Africa Magie Relph with her trusty 'carte d'Afrique', purchased in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Big Is Beautiful: African Costume and Clothing

In Africa, the bigger the occasion, the more important it is to show off.

And what better way to display your status, importance and wealth than by what you wear?

Grand flowing boubous, enormous embroidered trousers and Bolgatanga underwear are just a few of the items from my collection that you can admire and handle.

Plus, we'll need a model or two!

Traditional fugu smock
Traditional fugu smock: Daboya, Ghana

Under African Skies

Focusing on cloths from my collection, we'll look at West Africa's long tradition of hand-dyeing fabrics.

We'll examine indigo from Guinea, Mali and Kano, Nigeria, plus resist dyed Adire, kola and indigo from The Gambia and batiks from Ghana.

Then we'll leap forward to see contemporary dyers building on the past to create new techniques and designs.

And, we'll see how I've used these fabrics in my quilts.

Musa Jaiteh untieing kola nut fabric
Musa Jaiteh untieing kola nut and indigo fabric: Sukuta, The Gambia

African Blues

Indigo truly is 'the king of colours'. And nowhere more so than in Africa.

Mixing a bit of history with a bit of alchemy, then adding a dash of design, we'll discover the beauty, excitement and significance of this unique dye.

We'll focus on Adire and Dogon resist dyeing, Mossi cloth from Mali, Daboya strip woven cloth and costume from Ghana, and factory produced blue print Shwe shwe fabric from South Africa.

Indigo dye pits Kano
Indigo dye pits: Kano, Nigeria

Ashanti Inspirations

Many of my quilts have been influenced by the textiles of West Africa.

Handwoven Kente cloth and handstamped Adinkra cloth are just two of the textiles we'll examine and discuss.

We'll look at how these traditional cloths are made, as well as the background and meaning of their designs.

And you'll see in a selection of my quilts how these traditional African designs can inspire your creative work.

Add: Adinkra Stamping

Many groups like to combine this talk with my workshop in Adinkra Stamping.

Gabriel wearing Adinkra, Ntonso, Ghana
Gabriel proudly wearing Adinkra cloth: Ntonso, Ghana

Talk and Workshop Fees 2017

Talk: £125

Talk + 1/2 day workshop: £200

Travel: .45p per mile, plus accommodation if required.

Cancellation: All bookings are subject to a £50 charge if cancelled less than 25 days prior to the arranged date.

More info and booking

If you'd like more information about my talks and workshops, or if you'd like to make a booking, please contact me: Magie Relph at The African Fabric Shop.


t: 01484 850629

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