Learning to Look: Midnight Sky Quilt

Dark blue and white quilt with geometric pattern

Photograph by Mary Whalen

The “Midnight Sky” quilt was created by Adesola Kilani Falade in 1997 in Osogbo, Nigeria. Falade is an artist of the Nike Center for Art and Culture. The Center was established in 1988 in Osogbo, Nigeria by Oyenike “Nike” Davies-Okundaye to help students build skills to earn a living through art.

Learning to Look

  • What do you notice about the quilt?
  • What colors do you see?
  • What shapes or patterns do you see?
  • Do you think the title matches the quilt? Why or why not?
  • What colors would you pick if you were making a quilt? What patterns?

How It’s Made

“Midnight Sky” is made of a traditional Yoruba cloth known as adire. The Yoruba people are a large ethnic group in Nigeria and Benin (West Africa). Adire is created by using resist dye techniques (similar to tie-dye) to create dramatic blue on blue patterns. Artists fold, tie, and stitch the cloth with raffia or cotton thread, or paint dye resistant starch onto the cloth before dipping it into the blue dye. This allows some areas of the cloth not to receive dye and to remain white.

Design Your Own Adire

If you’d like to try designing your own adire online, check out this great activity from The Children’s Museum of Manchester. You can learn more about the process and make your own patterns!

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