Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Batik Ghana Style

Using a wood stamp dipped in wax as a resist
Batik is a method of wax resist to dye to create designs on fabric.  Batik was popular in Senegal but motifs tended to be smaller than in Ghana, and really tie-dye was just as popular. In Ghana, batik is very popular and the motifs tend to be larger. Often two or more colors or designs may be used on the same fabric.  Adrinka symbols are common.
I participated in a workshop, organized by NAWA as a fundraiser for New Horizons School.  Our workshop leaders, Mariama, Bernice and Denise work with the school and teach this workshop regularly to organizations as well as the students of the school.
We were each given two yards of white cotton fabric and were allowed to select from a wide variety foam and wood wax stamps.  The stamp faces ranged from about three inches to approximately 1 foot square.  Mariama gave us each a turn with the stamps to see if we were more comfortable with the wood or foam.  Wood stamps are only good for one go while the foam absorbs more wax and can be used repeatedly before needing to be dipped again.  The foam takes a little more practice to control.  I ended up using one design from each material.
Mariama ironed my fabric before we left (she ironed all of them.)

After the first pass of the design, the fabric soaks for a couple minutes in cold water to harden the wax and then goes into the dye vat.  After a few minutes in the vat, it's out to the lawn to dry in the sun.  Once the fabric dries, it's time for round too.  Again stamping, again soaking and then the next dye.  The second dye easily overdyed the previous color and so only the new stamped resist is the first dye color.
Bernise and Denise were the pros at dyeing. 
After the second round dyeing and drying, our fabric goes in to a huge boiling pot of water where the wax melts and floats to the top.  There it is skimmed off to be used again.  Next the fabric is rinsed, and more wax floats off.  To finish, fabric is then washed, rinsed again and then ironed.
All of this process was completed without electricity.  We melted the wax and heated the water over charcoal fires.

warm wax on the grill
the dyes and gloves
new foam stamps
the first dye vat, it started golden and turned pink

Getting a good look at the progress so far with the 2nd stamping

drying after the 2nd dye

Mariama cleaning the wax off with boiling water

trying to wash the rest of the wax off

our class fabric drying on the line
designs from the New Horizons school shop

1 comment:

maryse said...

Beautiful job Penney! Love the colors!