Batiks: Part II


This morning we got to finish our batiks! If you weren’t here for yesterday’s episode of ‘crazy random shit that Sarah decides to type on a page summarizing her life’ we (the group of amazing, crazy American students from Pacific Lutheran University currently stumbling around Africa) became artists yesterday. We started our batiks, a painted fabric tapestry that involves outlining in flour paste and then dyeing the fabric and removing the flour paste to reveal the white underneath. Today was the painting or dyeing part of the process which is by far the most time-consuming part. Because both of my pieces were meant to be decorative rather than practical and I never intend for them to be washed I didn’t have to care about how light my colors were, which is great because I love a good pastel. I made a cushion for my mom – guess how many tries it took her to figure out what I painted on it? One. She has figured out my secret – I plan to get her a hummingbird from everywhere in the world, so far I have gotten her hummingbirds from: the Southwest United States, the Makah nation in Washington state, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, and now… Africa! My next goal: get her and my grandmother to get matching hummingbird tattoos with me while in Las Vegas.

While there I also commissioned a custom panel for my jean jacket, which Tom (our fabulous instructor) agreed to do it for N$280, which is less than US$20! I was honestly shocked, I can’t even imagine how much I would pay for something similar in the US and he let me sketch out a design, pick and mix colors that I wanted, and included some really cool graphic borders to the piece which will be complete next Saturday!

After we completed the painting of our pieces we had to wait for them to dry and then bake them in the oven to bind the dye to the fabric so that when it was soaked to remove the flour the process didn’t simultaneously remove all of our hard work. The oven was So Fucking Hot. 200 degrees Celsius hot. So hot that leaving our batiks in for a minute and a half made them so hot I burned my fingers taking them out. Tom’s fingers seem to have no nerve endings hot. ‘Why don’t they have oven mitts?’ hot.

Julie picked us up and drove us to a small local produce market where we bought some of the produce we knew we would need for the week but we didn’t have a meal plan yet so we didn’t know for sure what we needed to buy which was disappointing because this place was so dirt cheap and the produce looked scrum-diddly-umptious. When we got back Elizabeth and Kendra made an Asian noodle dish with the rest of our produce from the last week, some butternut squash, green beans, bell peppers, and onions, all coated in hoisin and soy sauce with a fair bit of garlic because who doesn’t love garlic? Vampires, that’s who, and vampires can suck it.

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