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.  Dressmaking/craft weight: 150 grams per metre, approximately.

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

Per Fat Quarter: £4.80     Per metre: £19.20

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 £23.00ABA001
Batik Adventure Pack Jungle
image for Batik Adventure Pack Jungle
from £23.00ABA003
Batik Adventure Pack Savannah
image for Batik Adventure Pack Savannah
from £23.00ABA004
Batik Adventure Pack River
image for Batik Adventure Pack River
from £23.00ABA005
Stamped Indigo Adventure Pack
image for Stamped Indigo Adventure Pack
from £23.00AKN103
Neneh 536 Damask
image for Neneh 536 Damask
£4.80FBA536
Esther 518
image for Esther 518
£4.80FBA518
Esther 519
image for Esther 519
£4.80FBA519
Esther 526
image for Esther 526
£4.80FBA526
Esther 516
image for Esther 516
£4.80FBA516
Esther 523
image for Esther 523
£4.80FBA523
Esther 525
image for Esther 525
£4.80FBA525
Neneh 537 Damask
image for Neneh 537 Damask
£4.80FBA537
Esther 529
image for Esther 529
£4.80FBA529
Esther 517
image for Esther 517
£4.80FBA517
Esther 527
image for Esther 527
£4.80FBA527
Esther 531
image for Esther 531
£4.80FBA531
Esther 528
image for Esther 528
£4.80FBA528
Esther 530
image for Esther 530
£4.80FBA530
Esther 532
image for Esther 532
£4.80FBA532
Esther 512
image for Esther 512
£4.80FBA512
Esther 508
image for Esther 508
£4.80FBA508
Esther 505
image for Esther 505
£4.80FBA505
Esther 501
image for Esther 501
£4.80FBA501
Esther 497
image for Esther 497
£4.80FBA497
Kola and Indigo Stripe Damask
image for Kola and Indigo Stripe Damask
£4.80FKN014
Indigo Damask
image for Indigo Damask
£4.80FIN015
Esther 500
image for Esther 500
£4.80FBA500
Esther 472
image for Esther 472
£4.80FBA472
Esther 452
image for Esther 452
£4.80FBA452
 
The African Fabric Shop uses cookies. For more information see our privacy policy.