Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trip up North (Day 2, part two)

From the Emir's palace we went to the Kano dye pits.

I've learned that when driving around Nigeria, it pays to keep your eyes out for strange sightings--like this truck carrying plastic water kettles used for washing (usually used by Muslims to wash their hands and feet before their daily prayers).

I don't know what I was expecting, but this certainly wasn't it!

We stopped to hear from one of the men how the dye is made and the process that it takes to ready the pits for use. Here he's showing us the indigo, potassium, and ash that go into the pits:

One of the workers took us to a lady's house who lives just outside the dye pits in order to see how she ties the fabrics to create the beautiful blue and white tie-dye designs.

These little friends were in penned up in the small courtyard (8'x12') outside the two-room mud block house, and I think they were a bit afraid of all of us that packed in to hear the man explain how the tying is done.

We went back to the dye pits to see the various tablecloth and shirt designs available for sale:

Then we went into the pounding/pressing room where the men sit and pound the cloth with 20lb mahogany mallets to give it a good shine. One of our short term interns decided to give it a try!

From the dye pits, we went to the tannery. Animal skins are brought in from all over West Africa and they are turned into hides ready to be used for leather bags, shoes, and other accessories. We had been warned that this place had a distinct smell... and we were not disappointed! 

Scraping the fur off the hides

From the tannery, we continued on to the Kurmi Market and Dala Hill...


  1. So you realize that posting about these indigo cloths...all your closest friends and family members will want you to bring them some. :) What an interesting and unique form of art! - even more neat that the tradition dates back so long ago. I hope you were able to purchase one for yourself!

    1. Haha! Well, you'll just have to come visit me here in Nigeria and I'll take you back there to buy one for yourself! I definitely did get myself a lovely tablecloth as well as buy a few Christmas presents for my family too.