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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

In the heart of Ghana, West Africa you'll find Kente draping the shoulders of the Akan people. Kente means "basket" and is a fashion featuring silk and cotton fabrics which are woven together in bright, geometric patterns. Kente was once a sign of royalty but is now worn to show ethnic pride during celebrations such as weddings and funerals. 

The colors of the Kente fabrics hold deep meaning to the people and signify everything from politics to fertility, from religion to science.


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Living Books for African Unit


During a recent unit on Africa during our homespun World Geography class, the kids and I read the following living books:

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway (Ghana)
Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier (Uganda)
Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary Chamberlin (Kenya)
Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse (Kenya)
For You Are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cannane (Kenya)
Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli (Kenya)
Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter (Kenya)
Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola (Kenya)
Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams
Rain School by James Rumford (Chad)
Two Ways to Count to Ten by Ruby Dee (Liberia)
We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs (Tanzania)
Lala Salama by Patricia MacLachlan (Tanzania)
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (Malawi)
A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Nigeria)
Moja Means One by Muriel Feelings (East Africa)

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

To round out our study, we made some Kente "cloths" to put in our geography notebooks. Here's a cheat sheet to help you make some too!

What you'll need:

yarn
wood scrap
strong tape or a hot glue gun
2 pieces of construction paper
oil pastels in various colors
paint color of your choice
scissors
ruler
pencil
glue stick

To make a Kente "cloth" print:


Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Wind a piece of yarn around a scrap of wood and secure it in place with tape or hot glue. 

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

The yarn should make a random pattern on the side of the block. 

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Dip one side of the block into some paint to make a stamp. 

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Using your homemade stamp, create a repeating pattern of one color onto a piece of construction paper. (From now on, this will be called paper A.) Set paper A aside to dry.

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Using various oil pastels, create a repeating pattern onto another piece of construction paper. (paper B)

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Once paper A is completely dry, fold it in half width-wise making sure to fold the painted sides together. On the non-painted side, use a pencil and ruler to draw a ruler-width line across the open-ended side of the page. Then, draw several ruler-width lines from the original line down to the creased side of the page. These lines should be perpendicular to the original line, but parallel to each other. 

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Now cut those parallel lines from the fold all the way to the original, horizontal line. Do not cut across the horizontal line. Unfold paper A and place it in a landscape position with the painted pattern face-up. The cut slits should be running from side-to-side across the page, not up-and-down.

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Next place paper B in front of you in a landscape position. Draw ruler-width lines from the top of the page to the bottom. The lines should be parallel and should run all the way across the page (You can make these lines on the back of the paper so that they don't show through, but it's not necessary.) Then cut along each line to create strips.

Now weave the strips of paper B through the horizontal slits of paper A, following a typical weaving pattern (over-under-over, and then under-over-under). You should end up with one or two unused strips. Throw these away.

Kente "Cloth": African Print Project

Use a glue stick to glue the edge flaps down on both the front and the back of the Kente "cloth" to ensure that they hold in place. And then display your finished Kente in celebration of the proud Akan of Ghana.


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