The Art of Making The Senoufo Fabric

To discover the rich textile heritage of the African continent, the Kente Gentlemen brand vows to travel to the most remote corners of each region, where the locals continue to craft magnificent prints and fabrics.

During the summer of last year, we travelled to the small town of Waraniéné, located in northern Côte d’Ivoire, in order to learn more about the Senoufo fabric. I remember mother mentioning about the village before. In fact, our family had spent close to a decade in that part of the country before we moved to Abidjan, in the south. I was very young then. Now, since I was old enough to travel back in time with a few friends, I was eager to witness the art of making the textile and the techniques used to accomplish such a par craftsmanship.


It's been said that the techniques used do show some similarities to that of the Baoulé fabric.

+ Experience the Art of Making The Baoulé Fabric. +

However, the locals did reassure us of quite some differences. Well, we spoke to Mr. Konaté, a legendary weaver to find out.

+ Here below is the audio and text transcript, transcribed and translated from French to English. +

Q: All is well. I have two or three questions to ask you about the technique? Everything will be recorded via this phone audio-recording device. 

A: Yes. 

Q: First question, how does everything starts... from the very beginning?

A: At the beginning, we spin the cotton into long single threads. And the cotton is produced here locally. It's a work that's transmitted from father to son. Only the men do the weaving. And women work the raw cotton. It's that very cotton that we used to do our work. We make fabrics, clothes, dresses, and so forth. 

Q: And how far back in time does the technique goes?

A: It's been a tradition for centuries.

Q: So, what's the difference with the Baoulé techniques for example?

A: It's the design. We have Senoufo designs (prints or patterns that are apparent to the Senoufo culture), which is different from theirs.  

Q: I observe another difference here, because when you sit down...

A: Yes, we are literally seated on a tabouret, a few inches away from the floor, while the Baoulé are seating mid-way, like in Bomizangbo for example (a village in central Côte d’Ivoire).

Q: And where do you get these colors?

A: The color are chemical dyes. We have taught the youth how to produce the dyes. And this beige color is the natural color of the textile. The other yarn colors are tinted, and washable up to 40 degrees celsius.

Q: What about the cotton? Where does it come from? 

A: The cotton is cultivated in northern Côte d’Ivoire. It's 100% Ivorian cotton.

Q: Ok, thank you. We will proceed with taking more photos and videos. And what is your name?

A: My name is Mr. Konaté.

Q: Merci.

There you have it! Everything's been laid down plain and simple. Quite the beauty, isn't it?

Film / Photography: Aristide Loua
Editing: Aristide Loua
Production / Text: Aristide Loua
 All courtesy of Kente Gentlemen L.L.C. All rights reserved.


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