MFAM Week 7: Out of Africa

MFAM header copy

Well I’m late. Again. Four out of seven weeks have been on time, so that’s not too bad, right? (Wrong.)

Anyway, this week’s project was inspired by a variety of pieces from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s collection of African art. This collection presented a unique challenge. Unlike previous week’s that focused on a particular country, empire, or art movement, this week we’re working with the art belonging to an entire continent, and very large continent at that. One with a huge variety of peoples, cultures, and belief systems.

The collection features textiles, masks, pottery, sculptures, and other objects, including a rather impressive beaded throne.

IMG_0805bBackground: impressive beaded throne (Cameroon, Bamileke Chiefdom of Bansoa)
Foreground: equally impressive mask (DRC, Kuba peoples)

Instead of choosing an individual piece to base my project on like I did in week five, I chose a recurring theme in the collection like I did in week four. For this project I decided to focus on pattern, as you can see in the photos of the Kuba peoples’ textile panels below and the mask above.




Patterns can also be found in a Ghanaian kente cloth.


I was lucky enough to have scored two skirts with great patterns for $1 each a while back, so I pulled them out of my stash and got to work. The colorful skirt is a very soft rayon blend and the brown and black skirt feels like linen, but didn’t have a tag.

before copyLarge skirt + small skirt = ???

The brown and black skirt was way too tiny (If you can’t tell by the photo, it has a waist of about 23-24 inches. Yeah… Not happening.) so I decided to replace the original waistband with 3 inch wide elastic. First, I used a seam ripper to remove the original waistband. Once the waist was removed, it was obvious that i was dealing with a lot of fabric. I gathered up some of the excess, and then finished the skirt using this tutorial.

The pockets of the skirt kind of poofed out a bit when I put it on, so I added snaps to keep them closed.

skirtPoofy pocket on the far right.

Since the weather’s been getting chillier lately, I decided to turn the more vibrant skirt into another infinity scarf. (Because why not?) To do that I cut off the elastic waistband and followed the same steps I used of the Egyptian scarf, separating the skirt into four panels and reassembling the panels to form one large rectangular piece of fabric.

scarfThe cat was as helpful as ever.

Once the two skirts had been refashioned I paired them with a trusty black t-shirt, black shoes, and a black belt. (What can’t that color tie together?)

after 2 copyMFAM Week 7: African Art

Don’t forget to tune in next week for the next MFAM installment – which may or may not be posted on time – and remember, please don’t touch the art.

Image credits:
Mine, all mine.


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