The Creation of Handmade Batik In Ghana

The Project Justine - Train The Trainer e.V.

Batik is a fabric with special colour patterns and is usually handmade in an ancient craftsmanship. 

Introduction

Founder of The Justine Project, Rahmée, travelled to Ghana in 2017 to learn the skills of making batik. She met artist artist Kwame in Accra, who showed her the fascinating process of creating batik. She visited the batik artist Kwame in Ghana, Accra in his studio to watch the fascinating process of creation of batik. On the table we see the various types of stamps used for the various batik processes.

How is Batik created?
After painting hot batik wax onto the fabric it is usually dyed several times to get its specific design. The cracks in the batik wax make the fabric look special. What is the origin of Batik? The origin of Batik lies in Indonesia and was first used in the 13th century. But also in Africa, especially in Ghana, Batik has a long history and was been passed on from generation to generation with every part of the country creating its own unique styles. Still today the traditional technique is passed down from mother to daughter who earn their money with this unique artwork. 
The Stamps
On a foam block, various patterns were drawn and subsequently immersed in wax to fix it. Here we see three finished stamps.

A wooden stamp with motifs from the former Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana.

Two wooden stamps, beside them is a piece of white wax and brown wax from recycled wax residue.

Kwame shows Rahmée the cotton materials which will become Batiken, they have been dyed before.

The wax is melted on an electric hotplate.

The first stage of the batik process begins by immersing the wooden stamp in the wax and applying it.

With a fine touch is the right amount of wax poured out - the superfluous wax drips off.

Kwame stamps the first row of motifs with wax on the fabric.

The motifs must be arranged perfectly together.

Now a brush is used dipped in the wax.

A striped pattern is created with the brush in the second row.

There are no limits to the imagination.

The wax is applied over a large area ready for the next step.

With the aid of a foam stamp the liquid wax is added and poured over the fabric.

This creates longitudinal strips.

Ornate patterns are created.

The fabric was dipped in color and waxed again before it is coloured for a second time.

The coloring
For each color you need an extra bucket. Before starting, it has to be clarified which color should come out at the end. The process of dyeing is repeated until the required colors and designs are reached.

The different color buckets for the subsequent coloring after waxing.

The colors are mixed.

Now the fabric is dipped.

The elaborate process of batik handwork.

The color is checked.

Here the base is a pink fabric that is dipped again in color.

This pattern is created by dipping the batik into the blue color.

The fabric is washed with clear water.

A unique piece of art has been created.

The large waxed blue fabric area is broken before coloring it by hand.

This creates the crashed appearance.

The red color is ready.

The fabric is now carefully dipped until the desired result is achieved.

The color is now deeply into the fiber.

Here, the double waxed fabric is washed before the second dyeing.

The batik is dried in the sun, before being waxed and dyed again.

Once all the steps of decoration are completed, the cloth is immersed in boiling water to remove the wax. This reveals the patterns and the colors.

The water is heated with coal.

The fabric is immersed in the water.

With a wooden stick the batik is stirred until the wax has completely dissolved.

The final result
The fabric is rinsed again with clear water.

The floating wax on the surface is scooped out and poured into a tank for reuse.

The fabric is then dried.

The wonderful end result to this elaborate process. The yellow and orange colors radiate with the sun.

A dream of pink and blue with flowers and stripes.

The magical color between pink and blue – is absolute unique.

The mystical end result of mixing white, pink and blue shades together.

A sample showing the result from various dyeing baths which now produce this unique piece.

The resulting batik fabrics are also wonderful as an artistic background.

Rahmée is happy with the result.

Kwame proudly presents his favorite motif.

Credits: Story

Photographer: Philippe Jacques Kradolfer

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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