BOOMbox at Home: Textiles

Textiles include clothing, pottery, blankets, and even glass. Textiles can tell us a lot about cultures and communities. We have two featured activities to help you learn more about textiles and explore your own creative expression.

Global Textiles: Adinkras

First, let's learn of the history of Adinkra symbols, which originated in Ghana. They adorn clothes, pottery, and walls, and provide the Ashanti people of Ghana visual reminders of their own societal values. Spend a few moments reading more about the names and meanings of some of the Adinkra symbols.

Once you're finished, think of which symbol stuck with you most. Which values do we need to amplify more in this current moment? Follow these instructions to either replicate an existing Adinkra, or create your own.

Community Quilt Square

Textiles can help us explore being part of a community, as they are universal  across different cultures and communities and they contribute to each cultures’ uniqueness. We found the Stitching It Together lesson from Teaching Tolerance helpful in outlining this reflective textiles activity. Explore the lesson before starting the activity.

Then, using textiles from around your home, create a quilt square that represents you. You could use old clothing you were going to donate, recyclable materials like cardboard, and any kind of paper. As you prepare your quilt square design, consider these questions from the Stitching it Together lesson:

  • What is a community?
  • How does it make you feel to be a part of something?
  • How do you see yourself in different communities? 

Have a sewing machine or hand sewing supplies? Watch this video on how to make a quilt square by Jimmy.

After making your own quilt square, encourage your family and friends to make their own. Individual quilt squares can be collected and joined by sewing or gluing or taping to make a collaborative community quilt. Consider displaying your quilt in your window for others in the community to see.

Artist of the Week

Faith Ringgold is an American artist known for her narrative quilts. Although she began her art career as a painter, she sought to distance her work from European traditions. Inspired by Nepali thangkas, she began incorporating quilted borders into her paintings. She embraced quilting as a medium for sharing her stories when her autobiography was rejected by the publishing industry. Her work tackles powerful themes of racism and misogyny by highlighting the beauty and power of Black women. 


We’d love to see the results of your experiments! Tag @skokielibrary when you share photos of what you’ve created on social media.

Written by Erica and Ladipo.