Particularly as a Nigerian who attended school in the 90s, “Tie and dye,” often known locally as “Adire,” was one of the courses taught to students as part of the fine art curriculum.
During those years, students were always eager to create our own finished items using the resources our parents had kindly agreed to buy for us. Many young people today found the topic to be interesting, despite the fact that we did not fully understand the background to the stunning work of art we created with joy.
We must first understand that the term “Tie and dye” is used locally for Adire. A fabric made and largely worn by the Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria.
Early in the 20th century, the first Adire was used to embellish a piece of indigo-dyed fabric with resist patterns. By the second half of the 20th century, more colors became available from imported synthetic dyes.
Then, Adire combined a variety of hand-dyed fabrics with wax-resist batik techniques to create patterned cloth in an astonishing range of dye tints and colors.
Origin of Adire
Some Yorubaland natives were considered to have an intrinsic ability for adire. The craft was once thought to be a family-run enterprise in Egba territory.
The wives of their sons and their female children received the tactics from their parents. Since Adire production was a part of a certain family‘s tradition for a long time, those who were not from that family were not permitted to participate in it.
Several historical details on tie-dye in Nigeria
The second Iyalode (Head of Women) of Egba land, Chief Mrs. Miniya Jojolola Soetan, created the Adire for the first time in Jojola’s compound in Kemta, Abeokuta. She then taught her offspring how to do it, and so on, for future generations.
The original Adire fabric was created with Teru (local white clothing) and Elu (local dye), which is produced using Elu leaves that are grown in the Saki region of Oyo state.
Innovations from the 1930s made it possible for men to participate in the traditionally feminine craft of manufacturing adire. Women continued to be experts in the hand-painting, hand-sewing, tying, and dyeing processes that were combined before dyeing. The men started experimenting with decorative methods that entailed putting starch through zinc stencils and sewing machines.
A revolution in color and methods began in the 1960s as artificial dyes from Europe became more widely available. Naturally, this attracted Nigerian fashion designers, who now modify the designs to print on premium fabric and have turned the Adire art form into a business specialty. Institutions can now teach this craft.
Modern multicolored Adire uses basic technology and paraffin or hot wax in place of the native cassava paste as a resist agent.
Simple techniques like tie-dying, folding, crumpling, and random placement are used to create designs. Simple techniques like tie-dying, crumpling, folding, and randomly sprinkling or spraying hot wax into a cloth before to dyeing produce designs.
The Adire has recently become a popular global phenomenon thanks to Nigerian artists. It is a fabric with broad appeal that is modified into many fashions and trends.