After seeing how wonderfully Jessica's batik turned out (see a previous post) after her school trip to the Artisan market in Lome, I was inspired! I decided to organise a mum's trip to make our very own African batik. I have had a few people ask what is a batik?
"Batik is both an art and a craft, which is becoming more popular and well known in the West as a wonderfully creative medium. The art of decorating cloth in this way, using wax and dye, has been practised for centuries.To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs. After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for wearing or showing. " ( www.batikguild.org.uk)
So a few weeks ago a group of excited mums set off rather early on a Saturday to learn the ancient art of batik making. Above we are tracing our designs onto a cheesecloth type of material that will be our batik. The local men teaching the class provided many of their own designs but some of the more artistic mums chose to do their own. We used drawing pins to secure the cloth and design so we could trace it.
This is my design ready to be painted with colourful dye. But first we painted around our designs with another wax so we could have a white background later on. The coloured dye will not penetrate the wax.
Below-the dyes come in a powder form and they are mixed with water.
Time for the batiks to dry! Perfect time for a lunch break. We headed on over to KFG's.
We are all smiling because as well as nice food, KFG's has a toilet that flushes and has a sink with running water.
The finished product-well not quite. We had to pick them up a few days later later they had been dried and soaked in petrol to remove the rest of the wax. After a bit of an airing and an iron, they looked amazing!
Here we all are. This is a bit less than half the long term mums on board. We are united by our unique circumstances, raising a family on board a ship in a developing nation. We do life together.