The batik pieces in this collection, designed by Marilet, are produced in Swaziland by the wonderful women of Baobab Batik.
“It is important for us to create a nurturing work environment for the women of Baobab Batik; a place we can learn and develop our skills, are free to ask questions, and grow as individuals. Our Vision is to be a leading example, in Swaziland and beyond, of a social enterprise using thought leadership and innovation to empower women and develop the batik art form.”
Els Hooft & Signhild Brosvik Thorne of Baobab Batik
Marilet first contacted Baobab Batik in 2015 after searching online for a socially conscious enterprise in Southern Africa which employs and empowers women while keeping textile traditions alive. She was thrilled to find Baobab Batik and after initial email exchanges, soon set up an in-person visit. She spent a few days on site, working with Els, Signhild, and the team to see how best to bring her designs to life. What resulted after months of product development are the three khadi batik pieces in this collection.
Baobab Batik was founded in 1991 by Els Hooft who wished to create sustainable work for women in Swaziland (in Southern Africa) and decided to combine her passion for the traditional textile art of batik with her philanthropic mission. Baobab Batik now employs 35 women artisans full time and, as a founding member of Swaziland Fair Trade, proudly follows the principles of the World Fair Trade Organization and reinvests 50% of their profits into the company and the people.
The workshop is located at the foot of the beautiful Ezulwini Mountains, surrounded by farmlands with rich red soil. Each piece is handmade by a wonderful team of knowledgeable women, who combine their skills and talents to create a truly unique finished product.
The batik process involves brushing or drawing wax onto the cloth in different areas; the parts of the fabric covered in wax resist the dye when the cloth is dyed. It is a layered and timely process, the colors building on one another, creating very rich tones. The batiks in this collection use three different dye colors in each design.