Creating a beautiful batik tablecloth

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

January, 2024

Product name

A Batik Workshop with Global Mamas

Product country

Ghana

Product city

Elmina

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Although I had a vague notion of what batik was, a workshop in Ghana’s fishing port Elmina, not only allowed us to understand the process, but create a piece of cloth.

The event was run by the Global Mamas Community, founded in 2003. Their mission is to create not just financial prosperity for African women and their families, but also happiness and good health.

Mavis, a large, jolly lady, carefully explained the stages involved, before taking us into a small, crowded workshop, where a pan of hot candle wax was being heated, with the charcoal fire being fanned by another Global Mamma. Stamps are made from either wood or foam, and Mavis demonstrated how the latter is faster, as it absorbs more wax and therefore requires less dipping.

We each chose a design and, after a quick demonstration, enjoyed stamping lengths of cream cotton stretched out on a board. These were hung on a washing line to dry in the sun, whilst Mavis took on the messy job of creating the turquoise dye. The powdered dye, made from natural pigments, was mixed with odourless caustic soda and another smelly powder, and added to a large bowl of cold water. The dried material was then folded carefully until it fitted the shape of the bowl. Although the material would normally be dyed for 45 minutes, we circumvented this to 15, with a rubber-gloved Mavis constantly turning the material to allow the dye to seep through. The material was returned to the line, before being plunged into boiling water and rubbed to allow the wax to melt. This was then skimmed off to be reused due to its cost. The material was hung for a third time to dry before being handed over to us.

We now have two vibrant tablecloths which are a lovely reminder of an afternoon well spent.

Helen Jackson

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