TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Introducing Oshiwa Printing Blocks at the Paducah Quilt Show!

Handcarved textile stamps from Oshiwa, 
a carving group in Namibia.

Anita Brandt, founder of Oshiwa Designs, joined our Fiber Focus Group awhile back and approached me about using Rayela Art as the distributor for the textile stamps her carving group produces.  After several months of emailing back and forth, trying to figure out the logistics of such a partnership, we are almost ready to hit the market!  Last week, two huge boxes arrived at my doorstep loaded with the stamps.  Our first introduction to the public will be here in Paducah during the quilt show which starts next week.  If you are coming to Paducah, please visit the Rayela Art booth at 212 Broadway, housed in Antique Galleria.  Broadway is Paducah's main street, a short walk from the Quilt Museum and other downtown businesses.

The Oshiwa Namibia Team

Anita's team consists of a small group of talented carvers.  Each brings special skills and talents to the mix.  We will have more stories about each one in the future.  The stamps are their main focus, but they also have a booth in Namibia with other products they make including gorgeous picture frames, pillows and other crafts.  Distribution from Namibia to a larger market has been a major problem for Anita, so we are hoping that by working with Rayela Art, this problem will be solved.  At this point, we will start only with the stamps and later move on to the other possible products.

Oshiwa carved photo frame.

Maria sewing Oshiwa cusion covers.

Oshiwa cushion cover using stamped fabric.

The stamps are available as individual pieces as seen in the first photos or as sets.  We are still working out the pricing details.  Anita has been operating on a string budget with no salary for herself for years and years.  Is this a sustainable approach?  We need to be able to find a price point where they can meet their needs and which is affordable for the artists who will be our primary market.  

Oshiwa textile stamps sold as sets.

As sets, the stamps have jigsaw patterns that can be used to compliment each other.  All of the photos in this post show their distinctive African geometric patterns, but many also depict animals, both real and imaginary.  Some include the elephants, rhinos and snakes of Africa, while others are just funny creatures that are inside the carver's imagination.  Here are a couple of creature graphics that were created with the stamps:

Oshiwa creature designs using their textile stamps.

Oshiwa recently joined TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List and we will move into creating a greater online presence for the group once the Quilt Show is over.  We have a lot of work carved out for us: setting up a shop on Etsy, getting a blog going for the group, a facebook fan page, and so on.  Meanwhile, we could really use your feedback!  
  • What is your reaction to the designs?  (Too ethnic?  Too African?  Or, just drop dead gorgeous?!!)
  • Would you pay $2 per square inch for a stamp?
  • What would you use the stamps for? (fabric, paper or clay?)
  • What themes would interest you?
  • Would you prefer to buy individual stamps or sets?
Any feedback that you can give us will be extremely helpful as we plan out our next steps.  Paula Benjaminson has used the Oshiwa stamps in her workshops with great success.  Visit her blog to see examples of how contemporary fiber artists have incorporated these designs into their work.  And, be sure to leave some nice words for the carvers, as well.  Anita will pass your words on to them and an encouraging pat on the back is always a nice gesture!

For more information, visit Oshiwa.com.



  1. I think they are drop dead gorgeous! I think you could price them comparable to the stamps you can get in a store. I don't think you can charge too much more than that, because the shipping will also increase the price.

  2. muito interessante os selos de impressão do grupo de escultores oshiwa.
    eu gostaria de que estes fossem vendidos separadamente para que possamos montar nossos próprios conjuntos em tecido. Aliás me parece ficar mais barato para vender em brasil?

  3. Really beautiful! I love them!
    Not at all too ethnic (or African for that matter). If you use it with different color scheme it can look like anything - Its look is very diverse and the geometric patterns are good for everything and anything.
    $2 per square inch - Sound a bit cheep to me... Is this is the size of each stamps or are they bigger? I would risk it and say that you can ask for more (I checked couple of online sites for prices and for that kind of art stamps, I think you should aim at $4. Check here for example)
    I would be happy to use it for paper and also was thinking of clay printing.
    It could be nice to be able to purchase them both separately and as a set - depends on the set size and cost.

    Good luck with it!
    It's such a great initiative!!


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