Egyptian designer seeks to revive traditional cloth-dyeing art

Egyptian designer Samar Hassanein has been working on improving the art of Batik for years but says the technique has disappeared in Egypt.

Batik involves creating a patterned cloth by applying melted wax onto it before dipping it in dye or painting over it with a brush. The fabric is then immersed in boiling water to melt the wax.

“Batik has disappeared (in Egypt) because no one shared their skill. As a teacher, I find that it is very important to provide as much training as I can, because people realise how difficult it is when they start learning the techniques,” Hassanein said.

The length of the batik-making process can vary from one week to several months, depending on the number of colours, patterns and size.

There’s concern about the large number of foreign batik cloth in Egypt; some designers want to create their own homegrown market.

“Our main competitor in batik is southeast Asia. They’ve had a great reputation for a very long time, so we need to come up with something unique, related to us, that people can identify,” Hassanein said.

Batik fabric is made in other countries across Africa using a technique that dates back to the golden old age of fabric making.

Watch the full video report in the player above.

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