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Weekly Newsletter Mar 24, 2020

UPCOMING EVENTS // INSTAGRAM LIVE // Artist talk with Dennis Muraguri

Join us on Thursday at 1pm EST for an artist talk with Dennis Muraguri on Instagram Live! You may remember Dennis from the our collaboration to make our Ma3 print, and we're looking forward to talking with him!

Not sure what Instagram Live is? Just sign into Instagram and you'll see a circle at the top where the Stories are that says Live, click on that and you'll be able to watch our live conversation!

PS If you have specific questions you want us to ask Dennis, please email or DM us!

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Simone Leigh Artist Talk

Produced by the Guggenheim Museum, this video is a wonderful introduction to Simone Leigh and her artistic process!


WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Recording Artists: Betye Saar Working My Mojo

This podcast was produced by the Getty Museum in LA, and features conversations with and about six artists and their relationships with feminism. We especially recommend this episode on Betye Saar, which features interviews with the artist when she was in her late forties. It's incredible to hear about her evolution as an artist, and how the feminist and vivil rights movements around her impacted her work.




WHAT WE'RE READING // What Do We Want History to Do to Us? : Zadie Smith on Kara Walker

All I can say is read this! Here's an excerpt:

"What might I want history to do to me? I might want history to reduce my historical antagonist—and increase me. I might ask it to urgently remind me why I’m moving forward, away from history. Or speak to me always of our intimate relation, of the ties that bind—and indelibly link—my history and me. I could want history to tell me that my future is tied to my past, whether I want it to be or not. Or ask it to promise me that my future will be revenge upon my past. Or warn me that the past is not erased by this revenge. Or suggest to me that brutal oppression implicates the oppressors, who are in turn brutalized by their own acts of oppression."



WHAT ELSE WE'RE DOING // New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund

If you're able and looking for organizations that you can contribute to during this pandemic, we encourage you to consider the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund, which helps post bail for individuals who are awaiting trial, but can't afford the cost and must otherwise wait in jail. Especially as this virus spreads, we can make a difference in reducing the number of people who will be infected unnecessarily and help make New Orleans a safer, more equitable place for everyone.

If you'd like to learn more about bail reform, we recommend listening to this!

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Weekly Newsletter Feb 18, 2020

Market DAYS!

We're in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, about once a month, and each time we go it's SUCH a pleasure to visit Rehema. Not only does she have the best snacks, but she knows what we'll love before we even see it. (For all our hypnosis lovers out there, we've got Rehema to thank!) This beauty is also hers, and should be heading your way by mid-April! 




Meet Emmy!  Whenever we are looking for something special, with unexpected colors or a whimsical design (see "Safety First" ⬇️⬇️⬇️!), Emmy is stop number 1.  On our last trip, we were thrilled to find this berry vine print (in the most luscious of greens)! 






What's cooler than a popsicle in February? Our newest playlist!  A collection of some of our favorite acid-rock funk from Nigeria and beyond, you'll be jamming into spring before you know it.

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Weekly Newsletter Dec 2, 2019

Made in Ghana!

We met Edwina and her group of batik dyers two years ago in Accra and from the moment we saw their work, we decided to make it a priority to produce fabrics with their collective. As a small business, we experience first-hand the importance of commitment and reliability when working with all levels of our supply chain, and it's paramount that we uphold the same commitments to those who depend on us! Two years later, we've produced twenty unique textiles together, totaling over ten thousand meters, each hand-printed on cotton sourced in Ghana. We're so proud to be able to continue to support this traditional textile production process and work with this wonderful group of women!

The process starts with cutting a design into a block that can be used to apply wax onto the fabric. You can see above Sarah stamping the design square by square!








The printed fabrics then go into a dye bath where they can stay anywhere from a few hours to a day! Here Vivian is washing the fabric before hanging it out to dry. For designs like Raincheck with multiple colors, the fabric is dyed, then dried, then printed and dyed again!




SF Event! // Zuri Pages Reading

WHAT WE'RE READING // Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

As you may already know, we're obsessed with Nicole Dennis-Benn! We recommended her first novel, Here Comes the Sun, a few months ago, and when her newest work came out, expectations were high! As hoped, expectations were exceeded and I seriously cannot stop thinking about this book. With grace and care, Dennis-Benn gives us the story of Patsy, a woman born in Jamaica but whose dreams lie in America. We follow Patsy as she leaves her daughter and embarks on a new, hopefully better life. Gripping, heart-breaking, and joyous all at once, you'll soon also be obsessed with this incredible author, too!

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Weekly Newsletter Oct 22, 2019

From Dakar with <3

Way back in April you may remember that we spent some time in Dakar with Cheikhouna, a master dyer, and his family to develop hand-dyed textiles using traditional stitch resist and wax resist techniques. We couldn't be prouder to share with you the incredible work of this team! 

Stitch-resist dyeing

For our Clean Slate and Cascade prints, Cheikhouna used a stitch resist technique called sitiba, where the design is hand-stitched into the fabric before dyeing. As you can guess, this is a super time-consuming practice, but the results are stunning!

For this particular print, the stitching is especially complex because the fabric is sewn into a twisting column. Sitiba is rarely produced anymore not only because of the amount of time it takes, but because of the complexity of the technique. Cheihknouna is probably one of the last dyers in Dakar who practices this technique, and while he trains apprentices, he stitched every piece of fabric for our production himself.

Wax-resist dyeing

You may be familiar with this technique already, since this is also known as batik! We've used this technique for our hand-dyed prints in Ghana, as well! As a quick refresher -- hot wax is applied with a stamp to fabric, which is dipped in a dye bath, and then later heated to remove the wax.

You can see that this print has two colors, black and blue, which require two rounds of dyeing. First the wax is applied and the fabric is soaked with black dye, and then the wax is removed and the fabric is then soaked with blue dye, which fills in the spaces that the wax left!


WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Étoile de Dakar

Youssou N'Dour is a LEGEND, and if you listen to this album, you'll know why. His music is blasting out of every taxi and Ndiaga Ndiaye (painted bus) on the streets of Dakar. Warning: spontaneous dancing may occur while listening to this album!

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Weekly Newsletter Oct 1, 2019

Team Outing! (to Brooklyn)

As you have already figured out, we're textile nerds -- we love learning about the history of the textiles we work with, we love their aesthetic beauty, and of course we love wearing them! 

Working with our hand-dyeing groups in Ghana and Senegal inspired us to to take our NYC team to learn about hand-dyeing and give it a try ourselves! As we learned about the Japanese art of Shibori, we explored the similarities in techniques our group in Senegal (photos below), especially with the shape resist, which involves folding and tying. 

Indigo dyeing has existed for centuries all around the world, and with it, different techniques developed to create patterns. It's been a wonderful learning experience for us to see how techniques have converged and diverged across cultures!


Whether you live in NYC or happen to be in town, make a stop at the Met to see these stunning sculptures by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu! Residing in the niches in the Museum's facade, these powerful pieces carry the weight of history and bear an Afrofuturist vision. Visit the Whitney Biennale to see more of her work, or follow this link here!

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