African Folklore Embroidery Gallery

These items are available for purchase. If you are interested in any of these pieces, please email the artist at

All pieces are one of a kind.

Commissions Welcome!


Beaded African Village
46 inches square

Designed, embroidered and quilted by Leora Raikin,Perceptions and associations of Africa frequently revolve around drought, starvation and AIDS. I wanted to design a piece that reflected the artistic and diverse cultural beauty of South Africa.While I love living in America I continue to feel a deep love and affiliation towards the country of my birth. My work while living in South Africa involved research into different tribal communities and sharing those findings amongst all groups to facilitate greater understanding and communication. This research allowed
me to develop an appreciation for the art forms practiced by each tribe. With South Africa’s eleven official languages it is a country rich and diverse in culture and traditions.

In designing this quilt, I wanted to incorporate the various cultural practices and art forms of the different tribes. The Ndebele tribe, who are known for their intricate beadwork, beaded dolls and brightly colored wall murals, inspired many of the designs. Basket weaving and pot making are the dominant functional arts of the Zulu tribe and the craft dates back hundreds of years when tribe members began turning dried grass into functional objects, using natural dyes made from grass, berries and roots.

I embroidered the designs using African –hand –dyed threads. These variegated threads are made in South Africa and create employment for women. Hand dying threads is an intricate process, with the threads first washed, then dried on a washing line and then with a teaspoon colors are spooned onto the cotton. The threads are environmentally friendly. All the women involved in the thread dying process have been able to move from shack housing to formal housing with running water and electricity.

Beaded wire art, sunflowers, beaded teaspoon, Beaded bookmarks, beaded Zulu necklace, beaded Zulu love pin , African fabric and buttons have been incorporated into the design, allowing for it to return to the true root of many African arts of including every day objects and artifacts into artistic forms.

Highlighting AIDS in South Africa is part of my mission. Through my work all the beaded items are made by women with AIDS and in purchasing these beaded items it assists in supporting AIDS projects such as and Starfish Charity. South African has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world with nearly five million people infected with HIV. The beaded pins, beaded spoons, beaded book marks have all been made by women from the KIDZPositive charity and the purchase and use of these items allows them to earn much needed income to support themselves and care for their children who are HIV positive.


African ladies
fabric applique
on pillow
  Circle of triangles inspired by geometric shapes used by Ndebele women in bead work and wall murals. - Pillow
World of birds quilt, consisting of six hand embroidered different bird designs and made into wall hanging.   Toucan
hand embroidered pillow
with rick rak trim

My Hut - My Home   Heavenly Cupcakes

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