Back in the swing

Well, Hello Everyone.  Its been a while I know.  I feel like the past few weeks have just flown by.  I can’t believe its almost July already.  My last week in Grenada was full of fun and relaxation.  I hiked through the jungle, swam in some waterfalls, took in the scents of the spice market, and got a little taste of the local rum.  Oh yeah, and I made some wonderful friends at the Lazy Lagoon where I stayed.  But perhaps one of the most interesting places I visited in Grenada was a place called Art Fabrik.  This little boutique is located on Young Street in Grenada, one of the busiest and most popular streets for shopping.  Art Fabrik is a production based artist studio for making merchandise using the process of Batik.  Its an absolutely fabulous process which uses hot wax and dye to print fabric.  I was lucky enough to meet the owner, Chris Mast, and her designer, Lilo Nido, to discuss this process….and I even got to tour the studio.  So please allow me to show you around a little….

The process of batik starts with hot wax and a  paint brush.  This lady is painting a pattern onto stretched cotton with hot wax.  The wax will dry and when dipped into a dye pot, the wax will prevent any color from soaking in where its applied to the fabrik.  Once the fabric is dyed, it will be soaked in a pot of boiling water to remove the wax…which rises to the top of the pot and is skimmed off and recycled….I think that is so cool!!

 

 

Whenever possible, Chris and Lilo use beeswax from the local bee farmers in Grenada.  However, this has become increasingly difficult due to a few destructive hurricanes which have passed through Grenada in the past few years.  When the local beeswax isn’t available, recycled wax as well as paraffin wax are used. 

From the left…recycled wax, paraffin wax, & beeswax

 

 

 

These are design templates which are used to trace motifs onto fabric before wax is applied. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lady is using a tjanting tool (like a fountain pen filled with wax) to outline a design in wax with a thin lineweight.

 

 

 

 

This is Lilo and some of her batik fabric.  Both Lilo and Chris were just so friendly and willing to share their knowledge.  I must extend a true sense of gratitude to both of them for letting me step in for a little glimpse of the art they get to make everyday.  It was encouraging to see such a successful production based artist studio…as this is the kind of operation I hope to run some day.  Thank you Chris and Lilo!!

 

 

This is an image of washed batik fabric drying on the line.  It truly captures the essence of Grenada and the lovely environment hiding amongst the hustle and bussel of downtown.  I love this image and will hang it as inspiration in my studio for many years to come. 

Ahhhhh, handmade!!!!

Please visit Art Fabrik’s website for more information about batik and the range of products they make. 

 

 

Since arriving back to the States, I have gained a beautiful baby niece, found my lost cat, and returned to a full time job at the surf shop.  I’ve also got some exciting news of an artist co-op that I’ve been asked to be a part of.  It is in the very initial stages of development, but we already have some very innovative artists on the bill and a location we are all crossing our fingers hoping to get.  So stay tuned because as things start to happen I won’t be able to help but to blog about it…..’cause we’re all very excited about the opportunities it will bring. 

Oh yeah, and I have actually gotten a chance to do a bit a craft work since being back. 

These jeans belong to a very special fellow that I know.  I’ve had them for almost six months trying to find time to patch some gigantic holes in the knee.  I’ve never patched holy jeans before, but I thought they turned out pretty good.  It took me two days and $60 to fix them.  I dropped them off on this fellow’s doorstep in hopes of mending a friendship I f*#(^ up while I was gone.  I’m only sad to say that, I don’t think it worked.  Me so sad, but…. c’est la vie.

 

 

I shall reverse my sadness by doing a little spinning on a wheel loaned to me by our local Fibers Guild in Savannah.  Thank you Bonnie Carter.

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