Africa is a great and varied continent of wide horizons and clear blue skies, which has long held a fascination for those born outside its bounds. Over the centuries its wealth of minerals, animal products and manpower has drawn in colonists and traders, slavers and missionaries alike. Its huge population is of diverse origin: people of Arab and Berber descent in the north, Khoisan-speakers and European colonists in the extreme south, Nilotic-speaking peoples in the north-east, and south of the Sahara a rich mix of groups who speak one of the Bantu languages.
Batik is a fun way to make a beautiful cushion cover. This project makes one cushion cover with an organic branch and leaf design. Start with plain white cotton and use wax and paints to build up the design in layers. You may wish to paint the back of the cushion to match the front before sewing the back and front together. Make the cover in an envelope style, or stitch on a zip or buttons.
Batik is a resist method of patterning cloth. The principle of all resist techniques is that a “resist” substance, such as wax or starch paste, is applied to the surface of the cloth to prevent the dye from penetrating to those areas when the fabric is placed in the dyebath. Therefore, when the waxed cloth is removed from the dyebath the areas that have been coated with wax retain their original colour, while the unwaxed areas take on a new hue.
Some theories suggest that batik originated in China between 474BC and 221BC and that the art then spread eastward to Japan. Today, batik is practised in many parts of the world, including India, Africa, South-East Asia and Europe. However, one island, Java, is at the heart of batik design. Javanese batiks have come to be regarded as among the most beautiful and sought-after pieces in the world.