Batik is an art used in decorating a fabric, it is an ancient but yet consistent style. In the Yoruba culture, batik is known as “adire alabela”, which means wax resist. These designs are achieved using wood stamps, stencils, or foam, but usually foam. The carver makes use of a sharp object (Razorblade, or a pointed knife)
In order to create a batik design, you need to already have your design and fabric ready. Afterward, you carve your desired design/patterns into the stamp and when you’re satisfied with the outcome, then you can begin the stamping process. The foam is dipped into a pot/pan of hot melted wax and immediately imprinted on the fabric. This process is known as the stamping or waxing procedure, and it goes on continuously until all areas of the fabric are covered with the design.
After the stamping process, you leave the fabric for a while (30 mins max) so the wax can settle in and afterward you immerse into a bath of dye.
The fabric can sit in the dye for 20 mins and after it’s been taken out, it’s transferred to a pan of hot boiling water and dipped into it, so that the candle wax can melt away. This procedure is known as De-waxing. After the wax is removed the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas forms the pattern to make beautiful and intricate designs with different colors.
An important factor about adire is that every detail involved: drawing, carving, stamping, mixing and application of dye are all handmade, and the majority of these patterns on the Adire fabrics connote a meaning and they usually tell a story or historical events.
To read about the different adire motifs and their meanings, click on the link below.