Taylor Joelle Artisan – Design Process

We are so honored and excited to bring you Taylor Joelle Artisan, available May 6th. We have collaborated with some beautiful Ghana entrepreneurs who have hand dyed and hand stamped the fabric and then sewn the items. Many are hard working African moms who have invested in a sewing machine. The process is beautiful and amazing and we are so happy that our owner Jenny’s parents (who are on an LDS mission in Ghana) could help bring these creations to Taylor Joelle Designs.

Everything is made by hand by the batik artist Prosper, his wife Evelyn, and a few helpers. Prosper prays every day for the success of this collection because it supports his family. The older girl in the picture above is Prosper’s daughter. Diane (Jenny’s mom) works with Jenny to design the motif. She sketches it to scale and then one of Prosper’s helpers carves the motif, in reverse, into a foam block.

Next, the fabric is dyed red. Prosper buys imported 100% cotton white fabric. It has to be just the right kind so the dye will absorb well. He works with 12 yard lengths of the white cotton fabric.

Then it is time for the first dye. Prosper hand mixes the colors – just like an artist mixes paints. The cloth is soaked in the red dye and laid out to dry.
Next, the design is stamped. For the watermelon print, they used two stamps – one for the pink part and one for the green rind. So the first stamping with hot wax is on the red dyed fabric to protect that motif (resist the next dye). 
Then, they dye the cloth green. This is tricky because Prosper has to find a green dye that covers the red without looking muddy. He did it after lots of experimenting.

For the watermelon print, the second stamp is then applied. They stamp the rind shape in hot wax to protect the green. 

Next, they dye the fabric black. The wax on the red and green shapes resists the black. But it cracks a bit so you get interesting crackles that are part of the batik look.

Finally, it is time to boil the fabric over a wood fire to remove the wax. 

Once the fabric is ready, it is time to sew! The sewing is done by very small family businesses. The sewers (moms) don’t use patterns. They can sew anything from a picture. African dresses are almost always custom made. Our sewers used very high quality techniques on our items including French seaming.
Mom has her little helper – every step of the way. Isn’t she darling?

These beautiful products are sent to Taylor Joelle Designs in the USA as our Taylor Joelle Artisan Collection. We are honored to work with such beautiful entrepreneurs.

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