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Hand-dyed Batik - Special Collection

Specially selected fabric lengths - perfect for dressmaking

These hand-dyed batiks are from our favourite makers - talented artists like Esther Amate and Grace Adover in Accra, Ghana and Neneh Jallow in The Gambia.

They all have their individual signature styles, techniques and colour palettes. Plus, they're constantly innovating - developing new designs and colourways to stay ahead of their competitors.

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.

Priced individually, per full length piece. Each piece is unique. There is only one.

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.
 
Hand-dyed African batik lengths:
perfect for dressmaking

Grace 566
image for Grace 566
£38.40FBA566
Grace 565
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£48.00FBA565
Esther 541
image for Esther 541
£62.40FBA541
Grace 562
image for Grace 562
£47.00FBA562
Grace 557
image for Grace 557
£49.90FBA557
Grace 561
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£51.80FBA561
Grace 560
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£51.80FBA560
Neneh Handpainted 194
image for Neneh Handpainted 194
£66.00FBN194
Esther 558
image for Esther 558
£48.00FBA558
Neneh Handpainted 186
image for Neneh Handpainted 186
£70.50FBN186
Neneh Handpainted 182
image for Neneh Handpainted 182
£69.00FBN182
Neneh Handpainted 197
image for Neneh Handpainted 197
£76.50FBN197
Neneh Handpainted 198
image for Neneh Handpainted 198
£70.50FBN198
 
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