Complementary approach to Filigree in Ghana

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June 2016
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Complementary approach to filigree in Ghana was chosen by the researcher as a means to break monotony in the filigree integrative materials such as emerald, ruby and diamonds. These have been in play for too long, and the use of these in Ghana blends Ghana made filigree with others. The researcher in this respect introduces Ghanaian materials as attributes into filigree making in Ghana. This is to serve as a bridge between the Ghanaian and the art and also as another genre of filigree that would be associated with Ghana. The set objectives considered for the study include: to assess the applicability of certain Ghanaian materials and concepts in filigree, to design techniques by which selected materials and concepts could be integrated into filigree and to demonstrate the practicality of the technique by producing samples of filigree with Ghanaian attributes. The Research questions for the study are as follows: What Ghanaian cultural concepts can be introduced into Filigree made in Ghana? What materials popularly associated with the Ghanaian culture are also applicable to filigree work? How can these materials and concepts be integrated into the Ghanaian concept of filigree? The research employed the qualitative approach. From the qualitative approach, the action research and content analysis research designs were used to facilitate the collection of relevant data. The experimental and observational research were also used. Cowries and beads were used as the complementary materials adopted for the study. Adinkra symbols were employed in the formation of the filigree wires, by manipulating the wires to resemble the symbols. The wires used were between the range of 16 -25 gauge wires and these were used at various stages of the work with a bar size of 3.8mm by 2mm for the work frame. The infill wires were twisted and flattened wires. Three sample frames were produced and the final work was a framed filigree work of the Independence Arch of Ghana. Results proved v that bead and cowry integration is possible with filigree. Filigree wires can be manipulated to resemble some Ghanaian symbols, and it is also possible to translate known Ghanaian themes into a filigree work. This project makes room for further study and exploration of more integrative methods and materials. Filigree integration with cowry and beads must be done after soldering. Cowry integration should be done after pickling. The adaptation of the adinkra symbols into the filigree wire work adds identity, even in the wire formation of filigree. While the integrative materials add colour, identity and enrich the value of the filigree work.
A thesis submitted to the department of Integrated Rural art and industry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy in Integrated Art. Faculty of Arts College of Art and Built Environment.