Batik is a hand-dyeing technique that uses wax resist to create patterns. Motifs are hand-painted or stamped with hot liquid wax, which penetrates the cloth to form a resist. This process can be repeated over and over, adding layers of color and detail to a textile.
Batik Care: At first your garment may be a bit stiff from the wax residue. We recommend steaming it before wearing. After a few wears it will relax and become super soft. We don’t recommend washing your garment after each wear, unless it is visibly dirty or smelly. If you have the means you can dry-clean your garment. Otherwise machine wash on delicate with like colors or hand wash and hang to dry.
We do our indigo dyeing in the Gonja district of Northern Ghana, where indigo dyeing is said to be as old as the place itself. Here, the fresh leaves of the West African wild indigo plant are harvested, pounded with an ashy mordant, and fermented in pits 6-7 feet deep. The dye takes several days to develop and can last anywhere between three days and three weeks before it goes off, depending on the weather. Once the dye is ready, Ghanaian dyers repeatedly dip cotton yarn slated to be woven into garments (or in our case, undyed fabric yardage) into the natural dyestuff. The yarn aerates in between dips, transforming the Indigo from a rich green to a vivid blue, and then almost black, as it oxidizes.
Indigo Care: We wash all of our indigo fabrics several times, but please note that our natural indigo pieces will crock. This means for the first few wears you should expect some color loss. This tendency is a sign of authenticity in West Africa, and the blue is considered to have medicinal properties on the skin. If you feel differently, please try soaking and washing the garment in a vinegar solution (10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar) and drying in the sun.
Your handwoven garment was produced by weavers in the Gonja District. The cloth produced in this region is rich indigo color and unique patterns that are imprinted on the yarn before weaving using a resist-dye technique. The dyed yarn is woven into narrow strips on wooden double-heddle looms, operated by simple foot pedals. The strips are then sewn into pieces of cloth, and then cut and sewn to create your unique garment.
Handwoven care: We recommend spot cleaning this garment if it becomes visibly stained. If it must be cleaned then we recommend dry cleaning. You may machine wash alone in cold water, and hang dry.