1.1       Background to the Study

Studio production is the creative activities which takes place within the workroom of an artist or producer. According to (Merriam-Webster) “A studio is “the building or room where an artist works”, while production is a process of combining various material inputs and immaterial inputs (plans, know-how) in order to make something for consumption (the output). It is the act of creating output, a good or service which has value and contributes to the utility of individuals. (Wikipedia). Therefore, studio production is the process of combining diverse tangible and intangible material inputs in order to create consumable functional and aesthetic items or objects which possesses economic value in an artist workroom.

Kaiser (1997) observed that clothing can be any tangible or material object connected to the human body. Clothing whether sewn or not sewn has symbolic import which facilitate and defines the concepts of a person, people and their culture, social relationship, history, beliefs and their comprehension of human experiences and existence. Clothing offers two fundamental functions for human beings, namely: as a medium or vehicle for communication and as a body modifier. For cloth to serve as a medium of communication which is an integral part of this study, an individual or a culture has to ascribe meaning and symbol to the cloth and over a period of time the symbols and meanings are tied or connected to that individual or particular culture though the meanings could undergo some modification with time and usage. This is the case for studio production and communicativeness of Tiv traditional clothing.

In Tiv society like any other African society their cloth which is an aspect of their art and life share an affinity. Their cloth symbolism serves as an interface by which they gain a lot of insight and comprehension of themselves, the concept of their cloth; their society and larger global society. All these though, no doubt transcend beyond and deeper than the superficial aesthetics of the cloths as they have an innate aesthetics in their symbolism, colour and motifs as well as the meanings and the message they communicate. To understand the meanings and messages they communicate and to appreciate them, their semiotics relevance is imperative, this is because semiotics deals with meaning making, it is a science of signs and symbols in relationship with every human event. It is a focus of enquiry into the manifest and latent meanings of every human phenomenon. In this case, it’s integral part is the replication of Tiv traditional clothing produced in weaving and dyeing techniques in a hand screen-printed fabric surface decoration using same to analyse semiologically and to leave a written document of their semiotics upon which other researchers can build upon with time, since clothing language like any other language is dynamic.

The studio production (screen printing) of these clothing may facilitate the clothing production in large quantity within the shortest possible time compared to weaving which takes many days to produce a complete cloth for an average adult male or female wrap around or dress. The diversification of the products from weaving and dyeing to printing will not make the clothing lose their meanings and aesthetic values but further enhance them. The aesthetic value of a cloth is not only dependent on the methods of production but on other factors like the end use purpose, tensile strength, suppleness of the fibre and cloth, colour fastness, texture, durability, ability to withstand abrasion during scouring, laundry detergents, solvents and chemicals effects, number of yarn twist, temperature and fibre types. Any clothing whether woven by hand or machine, printed by hand or machine must possess if not all, some of the qualities listed above to maintain a high aesthetic value though some cloth are valued more and above others based on functional purpose, design technique and fibre type. Example, fabrics or garments made from animal fibres most often are more esteemed above other garments and fabrics from natural and synthetic fibres.

Omatseye & Emeriewen (2012). State that just like most African visual art forms; the African conception of cloth is created not just to please the eyes. The African cloth has its underlying symbolism which actually takes its root in the people’s values and belief system. In the African belief, cloth goes beyond mere covering of the body, to prevent exposure. There is this inherent aesthetics in its symbolic usage, motifs and colours, and the messages, cloth “speaks”.