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African Print Cushion Heads

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Some of the earliest forms of Ankara wax printing can be found in Indonesia with a technique called Batik. Before Dutch colonisation of Indonesia, Batik was primarily made and sold in Indonesia and other parts of Asia. During the Dutch colonization of Indonesia (1800- 1945), the production of wax print was impacted and through this, it became accessible to West Africans.

The fabrics worn by African women are sometimes used as a method of non-verbal communication and expression due to their well-known hidden meanings. The colours and symbols used in each print design can symbolise a tribe, marriage and social status of the wearer.

The process of making Batik:
1. Drawing the design
2. Applying hot wax (malam) with a canting. “Hand-drawn Batik”
3. Applying hot wax with a copper stamp (cap) for repeat design
4. Waxing out the background
5. Applying more design on a previously dyed cloth
6. Preparing dye color
7. Hand-dying
8. Removing the wax in boiling water
9. Recycling the wax

Designed and handmade by Jane Oliver for West Town