Ashanti Kente Cloth in Bonwire, Ghana

Kente cloth is made from narrow woven strips in several parts of Ghana, including Bonwire. The strips are sewn together to form a large, rectangular cloth that is traditionally worn wrapped around the body.

This Ashanti kente cloth is on exhibit in the National Museum in Accra, Ghana. Ashanti cloth features colorful geometric motifs with specific meanings. Many weavers in Bonwire are members of The Good Parent Kente Company (PO Box 17, Bonwire - Ejisu, Ashanti, Ghana, West Africa), including Eric Kwanteng (telephone 020 8234012), who prepares a warp that will be long enough to produce all the strips for one cloth. The bobbin rack allows Eric to place several threads at once around the vertical posts stuck into the ground. He crosses the warp at one end around a Y-shaped post (largest in first picture above and below right). When finished, the warp is tied with a red thread to keep it from tangling, then the warp is carefully rolled into a bundle.

He tied the crossed warps (on the right) with a thick red thread to keep them in order. The warp bundle will be placed in a plastic bag and unrolled as it is woven.

Kyere Badu adds a new warp to his loom by tying the beginning of each new warp thread to the corresponding end of the other warp thread. The crossed threads of the new warp help keep them in order as each is selected and tied one by one. After all the knots have been tied, he finishes weaving the old warp.

Care is taken as the knots pass through each heddle to assure that the threads do not break.

This method eliminates the time-consuming job of threading each warp through individual heddles.

Kyere Bado wove so quickly, it was difficult to photograph him inserting the red weft, changing sheds, inserting supplementary weft, beating, and changing sheds again!

A short version of The Twenty-first Century Voices of the Ashanti Adinkra and Kente Cloths of Ghana paper that I presented at the 2012 Textile Society of America Thirteenth Biennial Symposium, Textiles and Politics, is included in the Proceedings as a pdf.

See also: Kente Cloth of Ghana, HANDWOVEN, January/February 2011, 32.1: 24.

Links:
Ewe Kente Cloth Weaving in Denu, Ghana
Ashanti Kente Weaving in Adawomase, Ghana
Ashanti Adinkra in Ghana
Glass Bead Making in Odumase Krobo, Ghana
Ashanti Glass Bead Making in Daabaa, Ghana 
Ashanti Lost Wax Casting in Krofofrom, Ghana 
Painting and Baskets of Sirigu, Ghana    

Coffins in Teshie, Ghana 

More Links:
Kente DVD
Traditional Fiber Crafts of Japan  
Papermaking in Kurotani, Japan 

Katazome (stencil dying) in Kyoto, Japan 
Shibori in Kyoto, Japan  
Batik of Java and Bali, Indonesia
Ikat Weaving in Bali
Printing in China 
Batik in Cameroon  
Backstrap Woven Ikat in Mexico  
Footloomed Woven Ikat in Mexico  


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Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura.