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Evergreen State College

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Program Name

Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression



  • to learn the practical methods involved in traditional, transitional, and contemporary design and textile printing in Ghana
  • to gain an understanding of the history and social aspects of printed textiles, design, and symbols.

Methodology: My methodology involved interviews, participatory research, observation, and literature research. I interviewed a traditional Adinkra printer, a Teaching Assistant and previous textile design student, a screen technician at KNUST and a screen technician at Ntonso.

Findings: I collected information about processes involved in traditional, transitional, and contemporary design and printing. I learned that the method of printing traditional Adinkra at Ntonso village where stamps and natural dye derived from the Badie tree are used. A transitional method incorporates the use of a hand screen, and compared to contemporary screen printing, they follow the same processes with slight differences in methodology.

Conclusion: Because of the high rate of production of screen printing in the transitional method, the traditional method of stamping has declined substantially. The main remaining printer at Ntonso, firmly believes in the superior quality of the traditionally printed cloth, so there is a constant demand for it, but the rate of production is slow. I appreciated learning many practical skills of design and printing, but faced challenges in being able to experiment or express my artistic style fully. I learned that many designers are concerned more with marketability and mass appeal than artistic expression which makes sense in a country where textiles are its third top industry.


Art and Design | Arts and Humanities


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