Making Adinkra Cloth
1) The first step is preparation of the cloth. Imported cloth
is torn into strips 12 inches wide and often dipped in indigo, brown, reddish-brown,
dull red or yellow. Some dyes come from a root in northern Ghana. After dyed the
cloth is left to dry.
2) Next, men or boys stitch the strips together with colorful
craftsmanship. The cloth is then placed on the ground and pinned down.
3) Then the young women prepare the dark printing pigment. They smash the outer
layer of tree bark called badie, in a wooden mortar. Then it is boiled for several
hours. Then some of the water is drained and the women remove excess bark and then
the dye is boiled again along with iron from the local blacksmith. The dye is ready
when it has the consistency of cold molasses.
4) The men then perform the stamping. First the use a comb
to draw squares for an outline to follow. Then they use the stamped symbols to fill
in the square. The stamps come from local experts who make the stamps from dried
calabashes. The designs on the stamps have special connotations, often relating
to proverbs, historical people, or household objects.