To make Adinkra cloth, long strips of cloth are pegged to the ground, then an artisan uses ink and a broad-toothed comb to divide the cloth into sections. Each section is then printed with stamps carved from the calabash gourd. These symbols are sacred and many of the symbols are inspired by nature or from important parables. Many have been used for generations, but some are new such as the Mercedes-Benz emblem, which appears on some cloths and seems to symbolize wealth. The ink used to make Adinkra cloth comes from boiling the bark of the Badee plant.
When the strips of cloth have been stamped and are dry, they are joined with decorative embroidery. I have tried lacing the sections together with yarn, but it was very frustrating for the children. I was recently looking through the book, "Kid Made Modern," by Todd Oldham and he made a screen of little circles joined by paper clips--that's when I knew I had found a way to link the sections of our Adinkra cloths. I found 1000 colored paper clips on sale at Staples for $3--what a bargain!
Modern-Day Adinkra Cloths
- 4 5" squares of white poster board
- 6" piece of corrugated cardboard
- Bits of craft foam for stamps
- A few wine corks
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Tempera paint, assorted colors (we used green, red, blue, yellow, brown and black)
- Paper plate for palette
- A pushpin
- 9 paper clips, assorted colors
|Detail view of the paper clips joining the squares.|
|A few examples of Adinkra cloth from my home school class.|