The artistic expression of working with melted wax on dyes is similar to that of painting with watercolor, oils or acrylics and the designs can be as complicated or simple as the artist's desire.
Since batik is a method of painting "negative space", the artist has to envision the complete design in-between shapes and figures when deciding where to apply the next color and the next application of wax.
Wax is painted on to the fabric and the color is filled into the fabric between the wax. The most popular ways of applying wax are either by painting it on with a brush or by pouring the liquid wax on the cloth. With a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps the individual colors of the batik are applied.
After the last dyeing, the fabric is hung up to dry. Then it is ironed between paper towels or newspaper to absorb the wax and reveal the vibrant colors and fine crinkle lines that give the batik its character.
African batiks are unique pieces of art handcrafted by talented artisans. If you like to decorate with textiles or showing off your love for unique fabrics, then African batiks are definitely for you.
From home decor to quilting and other crafts, batiks will enhance any project with true African flair. Frame a batik, transform a batik into a wall hanging by simply stretching it with bamboo poles, make a pillow case out of batiks, decorate a handbag, make a lamp shade or incorporate a batik into your quilting project.
Let the batik speak for itself and let the beauty be in the eye of the beholder.
Article and image courtesy of World Travel Art - Great selection of African batiks from Mozambique and Tanzania.