Batik in Ghana

For those like Elder Markham who don't know much about batik, here is a short explanation. Batiking is a process for coloring cloth that uses wax to block the dye from some parts of the cloth. It is popular in Southeast Asia and Africa. Wax is applied to parts of the material, then the whole piece is dyed, dried, and boiled to remove the wax. Places where there was wax remain the original color, while the rest is the new color. Batiking is labor intensive but produces uniquely colored fabrics. Batik artists also use the process to make wall hangings.

Sister Markham likes the fabric and loves the batik art. She has sent pictures and some gifts to our children. Steev, the engineer said, "Gee Mom, you've been in Africa too long." Corinne, who loves art said, "Please send me more." Carolyn, a creative person, married to Dave the engineer, and mother of four young children said she loves the batik table cloth she received as a birthday gift. There is enough residue wax that when the kids spill anything, it doesn't soak in or even run off. It just beads up for easy cleanup.

Sister Markham visited a business that makes and sells batik fabric. Here are some pictures.
Applying Wax
Molten wax is applied using a
firm sponge-like stamp with the
the desired pattern cut in the bottom.
Applying Wax

Here is a movie of wax application.
This video is about 700kb; be patient for it to load.

Remember the liquid wax being used is very hot.
A new meaning for "wax on, wax off."

Drying Cloth Drying Cloth
In this shop the cloth is dried
on a bed of potato sized rocks.
These fabrics are drying after
being 'batiked' and dyed.

Dyeing Cloth
These men are dyeing the cloth
in large tubs. There is an amazing
amount of color science required in the
process to get the desired effects.
This is all learned on-the-job and
handed down from experienced batikers.
Dyeing Cloth

Wax Recovery Wax Recovery
The batiked cloth is boiled to
remove the wax. Wax is skimmed
from the boiling vats and collected
in tubs to boil out all water.
The recovered wax is then set
on a burner to keep it very hot
and reapplied to another piece
of fabric.

Fabric with Wax Bertha
These pieces have been dried after the
second pass through the dye vats.
The next step is wax recovery.
The woman on the left is Bertha
who owns this business. Her niece
Pearl is on the right.

Batik Fabric
Last Week's Production on the Sales Rack
It is hard to believe this beautiful material was all made at these facilities.

Batik Dress Batik Dress
Batik (not applique) dress for sale
at the shop
While recovering from a broken pelvis,
Sister Lords models a new batik dress.

Sister Markham loves the Batik art---Wall Hangings, Table Cloths, etc.
To make batik art, the artist must visualize the work like a photo negative, paint on the wax and then dye the cloth. When the wax is removed the finished art can be seen. Adding more colors gets very complicated. Batick Art
Batik Art Batik Art

Batik Art Batik Art
The first batik art Sister Markham
purchased, and still a favorite.
Elephants and a Giraffe

Batik Art Batik Art
The local artist who did these
says his art is from dreams.
Fufu by Moonlight is
Elder Markham's favorite.

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