Work in Progress: Raffia Appliqué-Inspired Wall Hanging

I've been on a creative roll; this is the fourth in my series of African textile inspired wall pieces.  This time, my inspiration was the raffia appliqué fabrics created in Zaire, commonly used for men's dance skirts in funeral ceremonies.  The dark shapes on light ground appeal to me, as do the not-quite organic, not-quite geometric nature of those shapes.  I've researched many of my inspiration textiles using Duncan Clarke's outstanding book,  The Art of African Textiles
Gold weights.  They're made of brass,
and used to measure gold.

Following the process I've developed for the series, I primed the MDF with white gesso, then painted the two side panels and the two side bands with acrylics.  For the shapes, I penciled in the overall design, then filled them in with acrylic paint.  Once they were dry, I outlined each with brown Sharpie brush marker.  I used a regular tipped Sharpie marker to outline the small, ochre shapes. 

Creating the central polymer elements came next, and for those, I took as my inspiration the flat gold beads of the Ivory Coast, and the Akan gold weights of West Africa.

Once all the polymer elements were cured and colored, it was time to decide about the central panel and side band colors.  I ultimately chose Prussian Blue for the center, and Permanent Red (I knew that green didn't work!).  The blue really sets off the golden colors in the polymer, and the red is a strong accent.  I'm really happy with the way this wall hanging turned out! 

Gold beads from the Baule
people of the Ivory Coast.


Side panels and bands painted...'not sure
if I like this green, but we'll see.

Uncured polymer clay, stamped, incised, and ready for the oven. 
I did all the incising by hand, with the exception of
the circular pattern.  (I'm good, but not THAT good!)
Cured, colored polymer elements.

Finished wall hanging:  11"x24", mixed media
©2014 Michelle Davis Petelinz

What's next?  I have an idea, so stay tuned.  Or, if you can't wait for these completed posts, you can follow my more frequent postings on Facebook:  Michelle Davis Petelinz Kindred Spirit Studios.  If you stop by, please say hello!


Penny A said…
WOW~! I am LOVING this series -- and the stories behind your inspiration for each of them. Your re-imagining of the cloth patterns is sublime (this looks like a book loaded with all sorts of colorful inspiration)! BRAVA ...I'm tuned in and ready for whatever you have up your sleeve ;)