Meet the Artisans: Tribal Textiles

Tribal Textiles - Pillows from Zambia {The Little Market}

The Little Market is excited to welcome a new artisan group, Tribal Textiles! 

Based out of Zambia, Tribal Textiles is a social enterprise working with more than 100 skilled artisans, local to the South Luangwa Valley area. 

Drawing inspiration from the local environment, from nature to wildlife, artisans draw, sew, and paint designs by hand onto locally sourced cotton. 

Tribal Textiles TechniquesPhoto Courtesy of Tribal Textiles

In addition to supporting artisans through sustainable income opportunities, Tribal Textiles also offers a safe work environment, housing benefits, healthcare support, nutritious meals, and training opportunities. 

These pillows are beautifully crafted through a starch-resist textile painting technique. With originations along the banks of the Luangwa River, the technique has been passed down across generations. The skilled artisans at Tribal Textiles have preserved and enhanced the technique over two decades.

Michelle Attala and Tribal TextilesPhoto Courtesy of Tribal Textiles

To begin the process, artisans cut, sew, and fray the cotton. The fabric is soaked in water, and the design is intricately drawn using a starch mixture. This is set in the sun to dry and later painted and mixed with colors. After painting, the piece is baked in an oven, allowing textiles to be fully washable. 

Artisans then wash the fabric and scrape off starch, resulting in the final design. The fabric dries in the sun and is sewn once more before completion. With a commitment to fair trade, Tribal Textiles ethically sources these materials within Africa. 

And in addition to crafting handmade goods, many of the villagers are still managing their farms during the rainy season. 

Tribal Textiles in ZambiaPhoto Courtesy of Tribal Textiles

These beautiful, hand-painted pillows are versatile additions to any color scheme, with bold monochromatic tones and unique patterns. 

Tribal Textiles Pillows {The Little Market}

Thank you for your support of artisans and the preservation of cultural techniques! We are thrilled to be working with the Tribal Textiles team. 

To shop these pillows and support dignified income opportunities, visit our site and our Palisades Village store

We’d love to see your photos! Tag us, @thelittlemarket, on Instagram or share a comment below letting us know how you styled our pillows.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *