Manipulating Indigenous Vegetable Tanned Leather for Use in Macramé Art

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June, 2016
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The purpose of the study was to manipulate Ghanaian indigenous vegetable tanned leather towards the production of strips for use in macramé art. Ghanaian indigenous vegetable tanned leathers combine comfort, beauty, style, versatility and uniqueness. Despite the characteristics of the indigenous vegetable tanned leather, its use in creating and producing artefacts is minimal. The study therefore found it appropriate to explore further items that this interesting material can be used for, and macramé knotting, being an equally interesting technique in art production came as a possible area of experimentation where the leather was tested and manipulated in its application. The researcher employed qualitative research using the descriptive and experimental methods. Purposive sampling was employed in the selection of experts and artisans in the fields of macramé art. It was also used in selecting local leather samples from Asawase in Kumasi and for the experiments conducted. The researcher used interview guide and observation as data collection instruments for the study. With observations and interview made, the researcher discovered that the characteristics of the materials used in macramé knotting had some similarities with that of the indigenous vegetable tanned leather. However, through experiments, sketches and rhino renditions, the local leather was cut into strips and used in the production of leather artefacts in macramé art. The artefacts produced were found to be attractive, durable, easy to carry and comfortable to use. However, the researcher recommends that leather and macramé artisans should explore the unexploited locally obtainable materials and tap their potentials in art and technology. The research takes note of using the spiral cutting technique in constructing leather strips for use in macramé art. The researcher recommends that the pounding of leather in its raw state and pounding of oil infused leather should be applied in softening strips suitable for use in macramé art. Lastly, the indigenous vegetable tanned goat leather strip is recommended for use in macramé knotting due to its strength, ability to twist, fold and hold knots when used in producing leather artefacts.  
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of the degree Master of Philosophy in Integrated Art (Leather Technology),