Did you know? The art of Aso-oke making.

Everyone loves to be seen in an Aso-oke textile be it male or female. The beauty gives its wearer cannot be rivaled. However, do we know how the delectable material is made? Can we have discussions and speak about the making process of this Aso-oke we love so much? I think not.

Aso-oke is traditionally worn by the Yoruba community. It is the short form of Aso Ilu Oke also known as Aso-Ofi meaning Clothes from the Country

Aso-Oke is a cloth that is worn on special occasions by the Yoruba’s usually for chieftaincy, festivals, engagement, naming ceremony, and other important events.

The use of cloth weaving (Aso-Oke) started centuries ago amongst the Yoruba’s but predominantly amongst the Iseyin’s (Oyo-State), Ede (Osun State), and Okene Kogi State. The fibers used for meandering are either locally sourced or brought from neighboring states.

Here is the process of how Aso-oke is manufactured.

Gathering of Cotton for production.

Raw cotton needs to be bought in large quantities before fabrication can start. This is the core material needed to kickstart the assembly.

Spinning

This is the process of separating the cotton seed from the wool. And in doing this a bow-like instrument called “Orun” in Yoruba language (Spindler). The weaver spread the wool and rolls it on the loom (the loom is a handmade wood used in weaving; this loom is usually made by local carpenters). The Spindler would be turned, and while it is being turned, it will start rotating thereby thinning the yarn. This is done on a continuous basis till all the fur has been spanned.

Sorting

Cotton often acts as a magnet does which is why the thread tends to attract dirt and dust. Thus, the soil needs to be divided from the wool to make the wool fit for use. This process is known as sorting and there are machines for these purposes but in the absence of non, it can be sorted out manually which could be timing draining.

Partnering 

This is the process where designs are made on the Aso-Oke while the cloth is being woven. The instruments used in cloth designing are. 

o Akata (propeller)

o Iye (long wheel)

o Akawo (short wheel)

o Gowu and kikgun (rollers)

o Aasa (strikers)

o Omu (extender) is used in holding the reels

o Sanrin (metallic peg)

During patterning, the cotton reels are hanged on the sets of metallic pegs on the ground. The reason for this is to make the fiber into bundles.

Weaving

Once the following procedures listed are done, the weaving begins earnestly. The rolled cotton will be neatly inserted into the striker through the extenders. The weaver will tie Iro (filler) on his seat. There are two or more holes on the staff in which a small peg is tagged. On the upper hand of the Omu (Extenders), there is Okeke (Wheel or Axle) for pulling the Omu up and down. 

There are two-step pedals under the extenders (Omu) which the weaver presses down interchangeably during weaving. The pedal when pressed enables the cotton to open and the Reeler put through to one side while the Striker knocks the reel to and fro.

 This Striker allows the reel to be finely set interchangeably. The weaver handles the Oko (Motor) throws it inside the open cotton to be received by his other hand, movement of the Motor continues and faster as if the weaver is not touching it at all. 

As the weaver continues this way, the cloth is weaved and gradually extends forward. The producer uses the drawer to pull the cloth towards himself and the carrier obeys the force and moves towards him while weaving continues.

Little by little, the Aso-oke becomes to form and then can be fine-tuned and packaged. It is noteworthy that the Aso-oke have different types hence the use of different names for each product.

  • Some of the information used is sourced from  https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geKI6Ey0lgjpoASQNXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1615477765/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.asooke.com.ng%2fhistory.html/RK=2/RS=2q2q_D03i80Nu3S0JMwg.2hA5EA-