Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ghana Batiks

I've been working with my daughter Jenny to design a Ghana batik artisan collection for Taylor Joelle Designs. Our first collection goes on sale tomorrow!

Reid and I photographed the process and here's a step by step description on creating batik fabrics. The artistry and effort are unbelievable.

Everything is made by hand by the batik artist Prosper, his wife Evelyn, and a few helpers. Propser prays every day for the success of this collection because it supports his family. The older girl in the picture above is Prosper's daughter.


Diane works with Jenny to design the motif. She sketches it to scale and then one of Prosper's helpers carves the motif, in reverse, into a foam block. 


Dye the fabric red. Prosper buys imported 100% cotton white fabric. It has to be just the right kind so the dye will absorb well. He works with 12 yard lengths of the white cotton fabric.

Then it is time for the first dye. Prosper hand mixes the colors - just like an artist mixes paints. The cloth is soaked in the red dye and laid out to dry.


Stamp the watermelons. The watermelon print has two stamps - one for the pink part and one for the green rind. So the first stamping with hot wax is on the red dyed fabric to protect that motif (resist the next dye). 


Dye the cloth green. This is tricky because Prosper has to find a green dye that covers the red without looking muddy. He did it after lots of experimenting.


Stamp the rind shape in hot wax to protect the green. 


Dye the fabric black. The wax on the red and green shapes resists the black. But it cracks a bit so you get interesting crackles that are part of the batik look.


Boil the fabric over a wood fire to remove the wax. 


Sew! The sewing is done by very small family businesses. The sewers (moms) don't use patterns. They can sew anything from a picture. African dresses are almost always custom made. Our sewers used very high quality techniques on our items including French seaming.

Mom has her little helper - every step of the way. Isn't she darling?


These beautiful products are sent to Taylor Joelle Designs in the USA as our Taylor Joelle Artisan Collection. We are honored to work with such beautiful entrepreneurs.

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