West African "wax print" fabrics reveal the global movement of textiles and cultural influence across continents and throughout history. These patterns are a product of colonial and post-colonial markets, global textile trade, and a complex layering of cultural meaning. Some patterns have been in production for over a hundred years, and others have accrued proverbs and stories that are specific to the communities in which they are sold.
My work for the AIDS non-profit, GAIA Vaccine Foundation, frequently takes me to Bamako, Mali, where I source these prints from textile merchants in Bamako's central market place. By using these fabrics in my products, I am celebrating their cross-cultural influence and expanding their movement across the globe.
Each pillow is made using two contrasting prints. The pillow front contains a layer of batting sewn with a quilting technique to give it a subtle three dimensionality. Pillows are 18"x18" and 25"x25".