Thursday, August 27, 2009

West African Batik Prints

These are a few samples of the wax resist prints from West Africa we currently have. They are made by applying melted wax with a stamp or brush or stick to the fabric then dipping it in dye. the wax forms a barrier between the cloth and the dye, revealing the pattern scribed by the wax. The process is repeated for each color. Though the patterns are often abstract, nothing seems to be off limits as a source of inspiration, as you can see in these examples. Grab your scissors get to work!

Uncle Jer's fixture Rafi Velasquez was recently telling me about an exhibit he saw by the artist Yinka Shonibare. Shonibare was born in London to Nigerian parents and spent various parts of his childhood in both countries, becoming fluent in both cultures. Much of his work is reconstructing European garments from the era of colonial expansion with these traditional African fabrics. Reading about him, I learned that this dye process was introduced to Africa by the Dutch, after they were exposed to it by their colonial ventures in Indonesia, which was funny because I hesitated using the word "batik" to describe it as I knew that was Indonesian word and surely part of Shonibare's point.


  1. Rob and Cassandra!
    I love these! are there many? i remember buying some last time i was in LA. i use them as tablecloths when i do the flea markets in brooklyn. now i want to try to make shirts and dresses out of them. do you think there will be some by the time i get there on labor day? oh i love them i love them!

  2. Cool, I'm a "fixture!" I love it!!! And also love these fabulous Batik prints!!!