Posts Tagged ‘bogolan’

Bogolan, or mudcloth as most people know it, has always been a favorite of mine.  (I chose 866-MUDCLOTH as my vanity toll- free number for the business over 15 years ago — that pretty much says it all…)

Anyway, when I’m asked “Can you wash mudcloth?”  my reply is, “It depends…”   Since bogolan is hand crafted, the specific recipe used by each bogolan artists could give you varying results.  Will your finished project be worn or used (like a bag, garment or pillow cover) or safely out of harm’s way as a wall hanging?  Can you find a local dry cleaner willing to work with hand-dyed fabrics?  Are you willing to risk some fading of color?

If you’re making something you want to be able to wash (by hand or machine), I suggest you remove one strip and cut it into a few pieces to test various laundering methods.  Since bogolan is made of separate strips stitched together, you can easily remove one strip with no raveling of the fabric.  If you like the results, you can then pre-treat the rest of the cloth accordingly.

Last night I tested a piece of this bogolan, it’s a striking brassy-olive color.  Everyone who sees this color comments favorably on it! On the left is the test piece, which I threw into the washing machine with other stuff, then right into the clothes dryer, again with other stuff.   On the right is the original piece.  This is probably the best result I’ve ever had (“best” meaning minimal color loss AND minimal shrinkage), which to me made it fully shareworthy  ; )  The hand is also a little softer then the non-washed piece.  I haven’t even ironed it yet and it’s looking fabulous…Of course, others have not fared so well, but if you’re creative and open-minded, you might even like the newly altered cloth  as much as, or more than, the original.

And yes, I do still have a 2-yard piece of this fabrigasmic color available in the studio – unwashed ; )  $60.00.  First come, first served, as they say.  Order it now and receive it in time for #AfricanFabricMonth  ; )

#CulturedExpressions #1417MainStreet #RahwayNJ


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Thank you sew much to the members of the New Mexico Quilters Assn (NMQA) for hosting me to lecture and teach this past week!  On Monday I presented my “Global Textile Influences for Quilters” trunk show (ably assisted by Judi and Nancy) followed by Tuesday’s African Mosaic workshop:

Quiltin' in Albuquerque

Debbie and Sandi went for extra credit, creating African Mosaic borders for centerpiece handpainted mask and mola designs, respectively (below).  We all had a great time, and I look forward to seeing photos of the completed works ; )

To arrange a Cultured Expressions trunk show and/or workshop for your group, contact me.


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Who’s ready to create some fun new pieces to wear, carry, or enjoy at home?   Our Spring/Summer schedule is here, and I think you’ll find something(s) of interest to spark your creativity ; )  If you’re in the vicinity of our Studio in Rahway, NJ, or your summer travels bring you close by, join us for a creativity break!

And if you see a class you like but your schedule doesn’t quite match ours, let me know – we’re flexible and will try to accommodate you on another date – even better, our custom dates are easier to arrange if you have a group of three or more.

Each project is completed in one session, from 2 hours to 5.5 hours, so if you’re traveling, consider booking two workshops to make the most of your time here.  Not only do we have a discount arranged with a beautiful new hotel one block away, there are also great restaurants and more within a couple of blocks, too!  So, review all of this season’s offerings, and contact us to register or get more information!

#1417mainstreet #RahwayNJ



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Luckily, we’re making our way thru winter fairly well here in Rahway, so my thoughts have already turned to the approaching Spring season, and all of the opportunities we have to Create with African fabrics — Birthdays, Proms, Mother’s Day, Women’s History Month, and of course, the still-growing influence of all things “Wakanda Style”!  I’m looking forward to our second season here at the studio, and with that, we release the Spring workshop schedule ; )

In addition to our old favorites, we’ve added three new workshops…

Plus, you can enjoy three new “Drop-In Demos” (spontaneous opportunities to learn and create, each about 15 minutes long and with no pre-registration required!)

You can even arrange our existing workshops to fit YOUR schedule, with a minimum of just 3 people, so grab a couple of friends and get in touch with us  ; )  This is a great option if you’re coming from out of town. Consider making a weekend of it – the brand-new Watt Hotel is one block away, and downtown Rahway has plenty of restaurants and fun stuff happening.  It’s like a custom-designed creative retreat!

It’s almost Spring – leave the house, take a workshop.  As you can see, we’re flexible– as long as you want to create, we’ll work with you to make it happen  ; )  Looking forward to your visit!

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I hope this post finds everyone safe and ready to enjoy the holiday season, to whatever degree you prefer.  As usual, I’ll be taking the laid-back approach, doing as little as I can get away with, but with all of the fun – and work – of the studio launch, there isn’t much leisure time at all for me this December! #nocomplaints  ; )

We’re at 1417 Main Street, Rahway, NJ, in the Arts District.  If you’re in the area, come out to the studio this Saturday, Dec 23.  We’ll be open our usual Saturday hours form 10am – 6pm, and from 3-6pm, join us for some birthday cake and champagne as we also celebrate the release of the winter workshop schedule, and studio progress in general.

The studio is easy to reach from NYC by NJ Transit, and just a one block walk when you get off of the train!  Or, if you’re driving, you’ll love the very affordable covered parking deck, just across the street from us.

Can’t get here?  Check out our online specials, now thru December 31  ; )

We’re ready for 2018!!  Are you???

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I’ve been putting in the hours at the new studio, and can’t wait to have you all come visit! Be sure to see the scheduled events for the Preview Weekends in October and November online. I know the end of October seems like an eternity, but rest assured that if you’re experiencing a Fabric Emergency, you can also visit between now and the Dec 1-3 Grand Opening by appointment, and we’ll do our best to administer the proper Retail Therapy to get you through!  (Note that I’m hosting the Santa Fe SewJourn Oct 18-24).  Keep reading for more on our Studio Progress…Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric!

Thanks to the CE Pit Crew for helping me to pull things together for the #RahwayCultureCrawl last Saturday:  Camille, Dolores, Jacki, Kim, Roz, Bern, and Glen  —  You all did a great job decorating and promoting the space to passersby!

Studio Progress...Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric! culturedexpressions.com

Studio Progress...Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric! culturedexpressions.com

The shop is located at 1417 Main Street in the Rahway Arts District, just only one short block from the Rahway train station (on NJ Transit, take the NJCL or NEC lines to Rahway).  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Meanwhile, remember that our African Fabric Month offer for FREE SHIPPING on $60 or more ends tomorrow!  And with one day left, there’s  still time for one last giveaway.  So…our lovely window model (aka the dressform) needs a name… comment below with one or more suggestions, and if we select yours, you’ll win a 6-piece FQ pack of our latest ankara print finds –  and they are GOOD!!!  Comments posted by next Tuesday 3 October are eligible for the drawing…thanks!



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So, we’re enjoying fond memories of last week’s exciting inaugural African American Quilt Conference in Lawrence, KS.  Thank you to everyone who attended this historic event!  We’re now in Hershey PA for the annual Quilt Odyssey show, taking place July 20-23, 2017.  And I’m happy to say that the ladies in Lawrence nearly cleaned me out, however, I still have some fun stuff in store for the Hershey crew…

Along with the usual Cultured Expressions batiks, ABC Strip bundles, fat quarters, African Mosaic quilt supplies and embellishments, my books and Fabrigasm magazine, this year at Hershey we’re featuring bogolan and kuba, along with masks and upholstery remnants so you can create your own version of these looks.  You’ll find it all (and me) in Booth #307  ; )


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HolidayGraphic09 Season's Greetings...and Savings thru January 7!Whether you get all caught up in the Holidaze, or take a more laid-back approach to this time of year (like we do!), the time is right to wish you a happy, healthy and creative season, and the very best in the coming year!  I thank you for allowing me to do what I love for yet another year.

It's Sew Easy TV - Lisa Shepard Stewart Season's Greetings...and Savings thru January 7!I noticed that many of you enjoyed our most recent promo (last Thursday and Friday), and a couple of you missed it, so I decided to extend the offer now thru Saturday, January 7, 2017. Choose your deal:

$5 off $35   OR   $10 off $70    OR   $20 off $120

Now there’s no excuse not to begin the year with a creative project in hand  ; )

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handbag challenge prize sewing contest Fabrigasm African fabric

We’ve picked our two winners for the Cultured Expressions 2016 Handbag Challenge, so without further delay, we congratulate Alexis Delbridge and Pamela Spears-Bradford!!  All of the entries were so noteworthy that we put together a special Handbag Challenge edition of Fabrigasm, and it’s a FREE download!  You’ll find the two top honors on Page 3.  Check it out, and let us know what you think.  This is the prize pack we’ll be sending to Alexis and Pamela >>>

And everyone else who entered receives a $10 CE gift certificate!  Thank you all and keep up the excellent work  ; )  —————– lisa s

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Today brings our first #AfricanFabricMonth to a close!  Thanks to all who participated.  Of course, every month is AFM for most of us, but still it was fun to designate a special month!  And we look forward to growing it bigger in 2017 and beyond.  Until then, we wind up this inaugural month with another opportunity to show off, and to help keep the creative energy flowing right into October — I wanted to remind you to enter CE’s Fun and Easy Handbag Challenge!


Bag by Akonnoba Designs

Simply email a photo and 1-2 sentence description, including the maker’s name between now and October 10.  We’ll show them all off on this blog at the close of the Challenge, then choose one lucky winner to receive a selection of handbag-making supplies & goodies, including a copy of my third book, African Accents On The Go!  No entry forms, no fees…no excuses not to enter  ; )  Email your entry to info@CulturedExpressions.com

You don’t necessarily have to make something new for the Challenge now, but if you’re looking for inspiration, check out DIY Handbag Highlights.

We’re lovin’ the entries we’ve received so far, and there is still plenty of time to send yours.  It can be an oversized weekender bag, a wallet, crossover, satchel, zippered pouch, Vintage coin purse, or any size in between.  Mix your favorite African fabrics with accents of upholstery, leather or anything else.

Enter CE's Fun and Easy Handbag Challenge!              Enter CE's Fun and Easy Handbag Challenge!

Enter CE's Fun and Easy Handbag Challenge!

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