My Order Menu The African Fabric Shop  Hand-dyed African Batiks
+44 (0)1484 850629

Contact Us

Hand-dyed African Batiks

Hand-dyed in West Africa

Most of our hand-dyed  batiks come from Ghana and The Gambia. Over the years we have developed wonderful friendships with many talented local dyers and batik artists.

We try to identify each fabric with the maker's name and many of our customers come back looking for fabrics by specific dyers.

All fabrics are 100% cotton. Some are a subtly woven damask; others are plain-weave cotton, as indicated.

Fabrics are 115 cm / 45 in wide, approximately. Fat Quarters are 50 x 55 cm / 20 x 22 in, approximately.

Per Fat Quarter: £4.50     Per metre: £18.00

More: About hand-dyed African batik

About hand-dyed African batik

Hand-dyed batiks are produced in many countries in West Africa. We source most of our batiks in Ghana and The Gambia. Occasionally we buy elsewhere on our travels.

We buy directly from the makers - mostly women - who create their stunning fabrics in sometimes basic conditions in their family compounds. The work is hot and hard, but the fabrics are delicious!

Wax + dye = batik

The batik process in Africa - as elsewhere in the world, notably Java - is simple in theory, but complex in practice.

First, the theory. Wax + dye = batik. Applying wax to fabric creates a resist which dye cannot penetrate. Where there is wax, the fabric stays the colour it was before going into the dye vat. Where there is no wax, the dye colours the fabric.

Now, the practice. African batik makers use a variety of techniques and tools to apply their wax, including carved foam rubber and wooden stamps, sticks, combs, feathers and various brushes. They might drip wax from on high or splatter it with a whisk broom.

One layer of wax would be simple and so would the design. Add more layers of wax - sometimes as many as five - with a different coloured dye-dip between each waxing and the cloth becomes more complicated and appealing. That's the art of batik, African style!

The dyers use other techniques as well, including tieing and stitching to create a resist.

Meet some of our favourite batik makers

Esther Amate is a talented and experienced batik artist in Accra, Ghana. We've known Esther for more than ten years and her designs and colours are consistantly amazing. Esther uses foam rubber stamps in many of her designs: her wall of stamps just grows and grows! Esther's workshop is a family affair, with her daughter and son-in-law closely involved in production.

Grace Adover has been on the Accra batik scene for at least as long as Esther and has an equally devoted following - including The African Fabric Shop. Grace's workshop employs several skilled dyers and apprentices who are constantly innovating - under Grace's close scrutiny, of course.

Neneh Jallow in The Gambia is another of our favourite batik makers. She makes very special painted batiks, as well as wonderful tied stripes and marbled fabrics in colour combos that are both subtle and incredible.

Great for clothing - perfect for patchwork

Our batiks are all high quality, 100% cotton. Some are on plain weave cotton, others on a subtle damask weave. In Africa, these fabrics are used mainly for clothing and tailoring. Many or our customers use them for patchwork and quilting.

Esther Amate stamping batik Accra GhanaGhanaian batik: Esther Amate applying wax using a foam rubber stamp.
 
Batik dye vat Accra GhanaOut of the dye vat: African batik fabrics dripping with colour.
 
Grace Adover batik Accra GhanaGrace Adover in her batik emporium: Accra, Ghana.
 
Neneh Jallow batik maker The GambiaNeneh Jallow: stunning batiks from The Gambia.
 
Batik jacket by Brett de JagerBatik jacket © Brett de Jager.
 
Grace Adover batik studio AccraApplying wax to batik at Grace Adover's workshop: Accra, Ghana

Batik Adventure Pack
image for Batik Adventure Pack
from £21.50ABA001
Batik Adventure Pack Jungle
image for Batik Adventure Pack Jungle
from £21.50ABA003
Batik Adventure Pack Savannah
image for Batik Adventure Pack Savannah
from £21.50ABA004
Batik Adventure Pack River
image for Batik Adventure Pack River
from £21.50ABA005
Esther 345
image for Esther 345
£4.50FBA345
Betta 341
image for Betta 341
£4.50FBA341
Crackle 330
image for Crackle 330
£4.50FBA330
Crackle 327
image for Crackle 327
£4.50FBA327
Crackle 328
image for Crackle 328
£4.50FBA328
Betta 340
image for Betta 340
£4.50FBA340
Crackle 325
image for Crackle 325
£4.50FBA325
Esther 315
image for Esther 315
£4.50FBA315
Esther 310
image for Esther 310
£4.50FBA310
Esther 312
image for Esther 312
£4.50FBA312
Esther 307
image for Esther 307
£4.50FBA307
Esther 317
image for Esther 317
£4.50FBA317
Esther 298
image for Esther 298
£4.50FBA298
Grace 301
image for Grace 301
£4.50FBA301
Grace 303
image for Grace 303
£4.50FBA303
Esther 309
image for Esther 309
£4.50FBA309
Crackle 326 New
image for Crackle 326
£4.50FBA326
Crackle 331 New
image for Crackle 331
£4.50FBA331
Moudou 336 New
image for Moudou 336
£4.50FBA336
Moudou 338 New
image for Moudou 338
£4.50FBA338
Betta 339 New
image for Betta 339
£4.50FBA339
Betta 342
image for Betta 342
£4.50FBA342
Esther 343 New
image for Esther 343
£4.50FBA343
Esther 344 New
image for Esther 344
£4.50FBA344
Esther 346 New
image for Esther 346
£4.50FBA346
 
The African Fabric Shop uses cookies. For more information see our privacy policy.