Sunday, March 7, 2010


Follow me ....

On a walk through the Kuba Forest.

An exhibition at the Hamill Gallery, Boston Massachusetts.

The textiles on show are traditional tribal raffia textiles from the Kuba kingdom in the Congo. The long pieces you see are actually skirts 8 to 25 feet long, which are wrapped around the wearer meany times. These skirts incorporate appliqued patches, embroidered shapes and patterns, openwork, tie-dye, cowrie shells and barkcloth.

Living far away in South Africa, I'm not going to get to Boston to see it but the website is so wonderful that I feel almost as fortunate as those who can see it in person.

A magical world of repetition ........

...... and rhythm ......

... striking pattern ......

.... and colour.

The piece you see below is an example of Shoowa cloth, a highly prized cut pile textile which was often regarded as a sign of status and sometimes even exchanged as currency.

Look out for Hamill's new website, Hamill Tribal


  1. les couleurs.."terre" c'est magique..
    j'aime me promener sur votre blog..

  2. Hey, I'm really liking those textiles. The designs are amazing.

  3. Stunning work. It looks more than worthwhile for a trip.

  4. HI Robyn,

    Thanks for sharing. The gallery is not far from us so we will have to go see in person. I notice from their web site many of the pieces are sold already. Amazing. Bold graphics and earthen color. Marvelous.

  5. oh, robyn--- once more I am speechless (almost) the kuba exhibit is fabulous! I just cant get away from fabric it seems! what inspiration. thank you so much for posting this. and the museum is settig up a website too! I dont live too far but wont get there either so I really appreciate your taking me there! I wrote Lynne to see it but she is away. will try again next week. lyle

  6. ELFI CELLA, thank you.

    Hi Jason, glad you like them.

    Joei, oh good! I'm wondering if you will be able to take photos.

    dosfishes, very exciting! I wait with bated breath to hear all about it.

  7. Great textiles, I love the rhythm and patterns.

  8. All of these patterns appeal to me. I love the earthy colors. I wish I lived closer to Boston.

  9. oh my...what a stunning exhibition! I'm speechless over the colors and beauty of these textiles.. wish Boston was a little closer than 8 hours for me. Thanks for sharing.. I'm going to visit the site now.

  10. Yummy, love those textiles and the previous blog with the wood is gorgeous.

  11. again and again, i am awed by the power of simple things masterfully composed. Thanks, Robyn.

  12. yes, repetition and rhythm set to fabric. stunning! I so look forward to your posts! xxx

  13. I need to research kuba textiles...of course, I love them, the design, the rhythm, the color but I know little more. You have such a wonderful way of introducing artists and such on this site...thank you!

  14. You won't be surprised to find that I've got piccies of most of Hamill's Kuba textiles on my computer....

    ...they're going to feature in my work fairly soon!

    Really looking forward to their new site coming online properly too...

    x Chris

  15. These look wonderful! I will keep this place in mind and check it out the next time I am up there. Thanks!

  16. All signs are pointing towards Boston for me. Yesterday I was discussing how once I was delighted to find Renoir's 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' here in DC as I was reading a book based on that painting. She told me her favorite Renoir painting is 'Dance at Bougival' and it is at the Boston Museum. Boston is not far from here - 1.5 hour flight or 6 hour train ride. And now you mention Boston in this post and I feel this need to plan a trip. I am in love with the fabric in the first picture - I wish I could have a quilt made out of it and wrap myself in that beauty.

    Thank you for sharing these things - coming to your blog is such a treat :)

  17. i just love these patterns, colors, textures - I could simply wrap myself up in them and be happy always! my walls, rugs, furniture... ahhh!

  18. Hi Robyn - I especially love the colors of these kuba cloths. Strong design and very attractive. Do you know what they are made of and what they are made to do?

  19. glad you posted about this, wish i could get to the exhibit.

  20. I am not such a tribal look fan but can so appreciate it here. Thanks for sharing, you find the best things to reveal to us.

  21. Seems sad that an exhbition like that is so far away from you and their homeland and you cant actually see them except through photos.Wonderful stuff and thank you for showing them. Would love a piece!

  22. love it! love the hamill gallery.

  23. Greetings Robyn,

    I am so thankful for your presence in blogosphere. Your post this evening not only educates us on another world, but also illustrates the importance that we need to know more about other cultures.

    As I look at these wonderful designs, I cannot help but notice the their timelessness and graphic appeal.

    Thank you for sharing,

  24. I love the rich textures and warm colors and the patterns- wow.
    They have an Asian feel to them--

  25. Wow! what a treat.Would love to visit that exhibition.

  26. amazing! and amazingly colorful for having used plants and soils (I'm guessing) .... just beautiful!

  27. Oh, glory!
    So very beautiful... and the colours..

  28. These are spectacular. The earthy colors, the repetitive patterns, and the surface texures. All so good!

  29. Dear Robyn, these patterns and designs are wonderful, the colors and shapes fill my imagination with "what can I draw now...?" thoughts. Happy Tuesday to you. roxanne

  30. I'm wondering what they smell like - the aroma of these fabrics. In a good way. Hay? Paper? Fabric? The smell of patterned textile, handwoven, and handled. As a former quilter, the smell of fabrics of others always intrigues me.

  31. Lyle, glad you enjoyed the walk!

    Shayla, striking aren't they.

    Lisa at Greenbow, it would be great to see them in person.

    Lisa, its an excellent site!

    Blu, glad you enjoyed the posts.

    Melanie, simple is so often amazing.

    Thanks Cate.

    Mary Ann, there are many more examples of Kuba cloth at the Hamill site and more info.

    Chris, no surprise! I'm the same. Can't wait to see what you will be creating.

    Willow, WONderful indeed.

    Leslie, let me know if you do.

    Pink, I hope you make the trip and post about it.

    Karin, aah :-)

    Leslie, they are made of raffia and the long pieces are actually skirts. Have since added a little more info to the post.

    Velma, me too!

    Thanks Judy.

    Penny, I do see Kuba cloth but never like this .... a forest of Kuba.

    Anon, I discovered Hamill on the first day I got my computer and love visiting the site.

    Thanks so much Egmont.

    Donna, yes some of them do have an Asian feel!

    Maya, so glad you enjoyed them.

    Marilyn, striking aren't they?


  32. What an amazing exhibition of textiles. The patterns are gorgeous and I love the muted palattes they use. I am intrigued by the fact that they must use many yards of material wrapped around them.

    I really enjoyed the wooden pieces too. Driftwood has a presence all of its own. I love the bleached and worn appearance of it. I especially like the Driftwood assemblage by John Dahlsen and the cracking box. Great stuff as usual Robyn.

  33. Amazing! How do you manage to find out about all this? Again, thanks for sharing the magic...

  34. Love those textiles - I can almost smell the earthy fibers. Gorgeous!

  35. Hi Robyn, I'm so glad you wrote a post about Kuba cloth. I just love these textiles. Thanks!

  36. Kuba cloth! Wonderful guided tour! Thank you so much!