Mix It Up: Oranges and Blue

This week’s Mix It Up suggestion is for the orange lover. Each print has vibrant orange complimented with blue. A darker blue on the Orange Guineafowl print and a lighter blue on the Orange and Blue Floral Kitenge. West African meets East Africa in print form.

The guineafowl print, from Ghana, would be great to add accents to an item or garment made from the floral kitenge, from Tanzania. Maybe the collar or sleeves to a dress or bag handles for a tote.

The combination is anything but subtle and definitely for a showstopping item!

Guinea fowl print from Urbanstax


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Festival of Quilts, 2018

The Festival of Quilts is Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting event attracting 24,000 quilters from all over the world. The show is a celebration of quilting in all its forms, with over 300 exhibitors offering essential supplies, professionally curated galleries of quilts from leading international makers, 350 workshops, talks and demos plus a magnificent display of over 700 competition quilts. It is the ultimate patchwork and quilting experience.

Urbanstax will be on stand I22 with a whole bunch of new wax prints, batiks and shweshwe fabric from West and South Africa. We also have some new wax prints from Tanzania which are even more gorgeous to behold in person. Come and check us out!

WHEN: 9th to 12th August, 2018

WHERENEC, Birmingham


THURSDAY 9th August: 10.00 AM to 5.30 PM

FRIDAY 10th August: 10.00 AM to 5.30 PM

SATURDAY 11th August: 10.00 AM to 5.30 PM

SUNDAY 12th August: 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM

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It seems this summer is all about the accessories!. Our last few Look What They Made! entries have been bags in various forms. This funky clutch is by Hilary and is a folding clutch made out of the Teal and Navy Blue Circles Batik.

I love the attention to detail where Hilary has made the zipper pull from the same fabric. Great project, so vibrant and of course unique because no one else has exactly the same bag. This batik is one of my favourites and it is great seeing it made into something. Just look at that gorgeous crackle from the melted wax. Thank you for sharing it with us Hilary.

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Household Gravel

I have always thought of this print as a leopard print and even saw someone describe it as a giraffe print (yes I know, a giraffe print doesn’t spring to mind so quickly. I had to Google to remind myself of the pattern).

African prints, over time acquire different names in different African countries and markets. This one is known as Household Gravel or Family Gravel. This is said to represent the gravel around a house. As gravel is also sharp it is said to describe the immediate family.

It’s sometimes sharp and can cut deeply.

This is because those closest to us can cause us the most pain. Interesting! Check out the selection we currently have below. Just click on the images to see more of the fabric. Have you bought this fabric before? Do share your creations with us.

Blue leopard Ankara print

Turquoise Leopard

Funky Leopard Print Ankara



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Ilé Ilà (translated “House of Lines”) was started by Tosin Oshinowo a Nigerian architect in 2017 to celebrate her native Yoruba culture. It is a lifestyle furniture-line designed and hand-made in Lagos, Nigeria.

The collection of furniture and accessories is made mostly with aso-oke.  Aso-oke is a loom woven fabric made mostly by the Yoruba of Southern Nigeria. The woven strips are typically sewn together to make clothing worn at special occasions such as weddings, festivals, coronations and so on. It is pretty special.

In this collection, the woven textile takes on the role of upholstery fabric.The resulting pieces are modern and vibrant. Aso-Oke gloriously doing what it does best.


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Here are two prints from Ghana that go well together. Contrasting geometry with florals. One with a large pattern and the other with a much smaller pattern.

They both have pink and a bit of brown in common. They compliment each other nicely with a pop of orange in one to add a little something extra.

Orange and Pink Cityscape Ankara

Pink Floral African Fabric

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This collection of beautiful Kimonos is just one element of the work by artist Serge Mouangue. Wafrica is the name of his creative project which explores the fusion and juxtaposition of Japanese and West African aesthetics. The original collection was in collaboration with Kururi, a Tokyo-based kimono- maker and was made from 18 African prints sourced in West African markets.

Serge Mouangue was born in Yaounde, Cameroon and grew up in Paris. A designer and innovator, he studied industrial design before designing automobiles for some major manufacturers. He lived and worked in Japan for a number of years and this is when and where the Wafrica concept was born.


Though visually beautiful, the project explores a lot more than just aesthetics and is not meant to be about fashion or clothing. It explores many different ideas about contrast, traditions, globalisation, collaboration, identity and much more. If you would like to know a little bit more about it there are two great sources for information. Serge is interviewed in this OkayAfrica post and there is also a feature in this Japanese Times article.

Also if you speak french, check out the TED talk below!

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Osei-Duro is a brand that I have been a fan of for a long long time and even more so for their storytelling. This is especially because of their use of beautifully designed handmade batik fabric in their pieces. The brand was founded in 2011 by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh and is based in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Accra. They produce textiles and garments in Ghana, India and Peru, applying traditional techniques to simple contemporary designs.

Having pioneered the use of West African batik on fabrics like silk and rayon, Osei-Duro continues to focus on developing new and hybrid materials.

Their pieces are contemporary and wearable and at the same time elegant. Do have a look on their website www.oseiduro.com for more of their work and to learn about their ethical and sustainable approach to fashion.

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Saskia and her family are holiday and summer ready with these colour popping rucksacks.

How funky are these?! The colours, the patterns, the backdrop. Love it. Thank you Saskia so much for sharing your wonderful creations with us.

All the prints Saskia has used in making the bags are printed in Ghana, two she purchased from urbanstax. The Orange and Yellow Nsu Bura and the Brown, Turquoise and Pink Circles.We are loving the summer and holiday makes so please keep them coming!

And a final peek at the rucksacks!


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We really do have the best and most interesting customers. Daniel has recently taken up sewing after inheriting an old sewing machine. Check out the beauty below. (A tip from Daniel is that you can get spare sewing machine parts and the like for older machines from Helen Howes)He has started off by making these fab totes in order to hone those sewing skills. You can see more on his flickr account.

He has used a few prints from urbanstax, the Yellow and Pink Highlife print, the Orange and Green Wings print and the newly arrived Citrus Network as well as some other fabulous wax prints.

The colours are so delicious and looks to me like he is off to a flying start. I especially like that the fun doesn’t end with the outside of the bag but the bags are also lined with eye popping wax print too.

Here is  a sewing tip from Daniel, the handles on the totes are padded with interfacing. Sturdier construction and longer-lasting. I am really looking forward to seeing more of his upcoming projects. Thanks for sharing with us. You can get in touch with Daniel via email danlomas[at]talk21.com

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