Batik tie and dye

Focusing, interacting and observing the unique cultures and styles on any trips are refer to as cultural tourism. The concept of learning from other cultures to broaden ones perspective is usually a core value. Learning and acquiring a new knowledge on any handicraft or whatsoever would be a form of cultural tourism.

Buying crafts in the craft market with no interaction, focus and knowledge than the exchange of money does not provide the insight into another culture which is the central theme of cultural tourism.

Tourisphere has discovered the interest of some tourists to the Gambia in cultural tourism. Going round the Bakau Craft markets in this ongoing 9th Edition of International Root Festival, Rose Batik workshop, Bakau was the focus of some visitors and tourists who visited the stall to browse and buy from the numerous designed and neatly displayed batik materials at the stall. As some are buying, some are as well learning how to design and produce some nice batik for themselves.

Batik is a popular locally made textile materials that serve different purposes, according to Mr Kabir Dubois, the proprietor of Rose Batik Workshop, and also a former employee at MRC up to 1991 said “batik is a resist techniques used in the Gambia. Batik was first introduced to the society by some countries in Asian, among are Indonesia, India and some others.

Batik is used for decoration; sew into different styles and wear, for souvenir and so on. To produce quality batik materials you need items like cloth – 100 percent cotton cut into different sizes of your choice, crayon for the design, a locally made pointed pencil called ‘jentting’, some melted candle wax and some colours. There are different types of batik in the market but the most attractive and well demanding is the 7-colour batik it is moving very fine in the market and it has really supercedes the old type of batik called 4-colour.

The simplest way of producing batik is the old traditional mode that involves the use of a hand carved wooden stamp, dipped in wax, and applied to the fabric to create a pleasing design. But the advent of 7-colour batik make it a bit tedious but with quality standard and this allowed the free design of choice that often portrays some familiar object of village life, such as an animal or a flower, human being, farm works and some other things that express thoughts.

After the application of the wax, the cloth is dyed, and then the wax is removed by dipping the fabric in a very hot water. The Asian’s producers of batik are using modern technologies to produce while here in the Gambia it is produced manually which is an advantage to many that wishes to learn especially tourists on their visit.

Some of this type of elaborate and contemporary techniques batik can be found in different craft markets in the Gambia such as Bakau, Banjul, Brikama among other places. Rose Batik workshop is a regular joint for western students during their trip to the Gambia. According to him learning batik work is very easy if you are good in art-drawing as you will be able to catch up under a period of one week but without the knowledge of art it will take you months.

Batik is very different from tie and dye though it is also a technique we used to color an ornament or cloth through what is known as resist dyeing. Resist dyeing means patterning either fabrics or yarn designed for fabrics by reserving some parts of the materials from dye to penetrate. In case of tie and dye, the resist is formed in a number of ways like tie raised portions with thread; folding or pleating; wrapping rolled or furled cloth with bands of string or best; with trick, a needle technique of stitching a thread through the cloth and drawing it tightly so that the folds will resist dye from penetration or a combination of the methods.

In any of your journey as a tourist it is a mater of learning and honoring local culture and valued them. Either long or jaunt visit do not let your journey be a photographed only, if you will like to know more what really your journey can offered you.

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