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Growing up, I had no idea what the word ‘’adire’’ meant. As I grew older, I began to fall in love with the name ‘’tie and dye’’ and the magic it could produce when created. Little did I know that it was actually named ‘’adire’’. Commonly known among the yorubas, adire is a material which is designed with wax-resist methods that produces varying patterns of designs in beautiful hues. The designs you see on an ‘’adire’’ material were carried out by women who took to painting and wearing them as wrappers, or for adornment. We might be wondering, how does ‘’adire’’ come to form and what processes does it take to create such beautifully arranged patterns? Have you ever heard the saying ‘’all good things take time’’? Then it can be directly related to the making of ‘’adire’’. With the several applications involved to make a good ‘’adire’’ material, it takes about three whole days to finish a yard, and about two weeks to finish five yards? Yes, you’re right. It wasn’t as easy as you imagined, right?. Methods involved in making this material includes starch, which is built from flour and mixed with boiled water, which is further strained. Although, modern processes like waxing, have been employed in other to make the process easier, but hey! Old is still gold. Originally made from the lonchocarpus cyanescens, which is traditionally known as (Elu leaf), the ‘’adire’’ material’s systematic process include; soaking, drying, submersion, designing and other processes to make it what it is. . . this is why the ‘’adire’’ is treated specially in price and manner of usage. There are two main processes involved which consists of the two words that spell out the clothing; tie and dye. The fabric is first tied with a twig or twine according to the intended design, then it is soaked in dye to enable the finishing processes of the design.  Not only do they have their roots in Egbaland, in ogun state. The various patterns they possess have specific meanings attached to them. I bet you didn’t know that! How special can a clothing get? The ‘’adire’’ textile is a reflection of the culture it is born out of, and this speaks a lot in the designs presented on it. For instance, the cowries found on an adire could be said to represent wealth and power, the cassava leaves designed represents life, and the talking drum represents the constellation of tradition. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the work of the ‘’aladire’’ who is a professional decorator for the ‘’adire’’. It takes a lot of passion and inspiration to arrive at a stunning ‘’adire’’ design which speaks volumes in our culture and heritage, as Nigerians. The ‘’adire’’ has been present for as long as we can remember, and we will continue to treasure the hardwork and creativity that goes into making it.  So the next time you see an ‘’adire’’ clothing, think about the patience and hardwork it took to arrive at that awesome look. May you live long, our dear ‘’adire’’.   References: Arts and Culture Sun News Online Surface Design   Featured image source:

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This article was first published on 17th January 2019


Achem Deborah Ojochenemi, is 22 years old. She is in her final year at the University of Ilorin, studying Eng and literary studies. She has undergone training in various fields such as neuroscience, photography, communication and writing, where she has learnt to curate good content topics. She is presently an intern in Phursuns Photography Academy.

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