For many years I admired West African cloth. I poured over photographs of lively and elegant Kente spread across glossy pages of big art books. I photocopied and hung in my workplace pictures of indigo Adire cloth from the Yoruba in Nigeria, and those incredible, deep, reflective turbans worn by the Tuaregue nomads. I kept a tattered postcard on my refrigerator of the cloth being dyed in Kano. The profoundly beautiful color, pattern and surface of these textiles kept my gaze, and their deep investment in the culture and values of the place filled my imagination.
In 2006, I received a Fulbright Senior Research Award to Sub-Saharan Africa. During that year I lived and worked in Kumasi, Ghana, studying with the vibrant textile community, including an Adinkra cloth-making apprenticeship at the Boayke Family Workshop in Ntonso.
Since that time, I have maintained strong ties with my teachers and colleagues, with traditional makers, and with textile entrepreneurs in Ghana. Traveling to other regions in West Africa, I continue to learn, document, and immerse myself in this lively cloth culture.