You cannot be a black woman in West Africa and not feel that God created you to work with fabric. I’m not even joking when I say that. Everywhere you go women are working with thier hands to create fabric or clothing. For crying out loud, I saw not one but two different women carrying Singer hand crank machines on their head!
Last Tuesday I made batik fabric with two other women from my group. I really had to talk them in to it. Honestly, I think they went because our hotel was so miserable and there was nothing else to do. Plus, after a day of visiting slave castles and attending meetings on the African slave trade, anything would cheer us up.
We arrived by the ocean to Eli and Emma’s. They told us to pick out two patterns. There were hundreds to chose from. Each pattern was cut into a block of foam.
We took each block and dipped it in to the hot wax boiling over the clay pot fire. From there, we stamped our fabric. As soon as the foam hit the fabric, I could feel my companions mood change. They started smiling and laughing and enjoying themselves. I practcally did a dance just from being in the room.
After stamping the fabric we dipped it in dye and worked it with our hands.
The women were outside mixing the dye colors in old relaxer jars.
Then, the fabric sits in the sun so the colors can develop.
Once that is done, you put the fabric in boiling hot water to remove the wax, then cold water to set the dye.
I chose to use a Ghanian symbol for “Accept God” that and some butterflies in my normal Andes mint color combo of green and brown. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this yet. I’m so pleased with how it came out and loved every moment of making it.