Friday, 6 March 2009

Batik Making in Beautiful Bora Bora - Sailing Adventures in the South Seas

To all of you budding Cruisers, Voyagers, Passagemakers out there, the following article is an example of the fantastic adventures that you can experience whilst on you lifetime sailing adventure.

Many of these wonderful events just happen completely unexpectedly and therefore the more enjoyable and memorable for that.

This one is just such an experience and is an extract from my book 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' and I will call it simply 'Batik making in Beautiful Bora Bora'.

'Apart from an aerial view, the best vantage point for viewing the encircling reef of Bora Bora is from the top of the twin peaks. Her captain and WK set off up the long track next morning, whilst sibling crew, using the excuse that our two men need some male bonding, prefers to go shopping in the village. Trekking upward is hot work, even though the trail is bountifully shaded with palms and other trees, so that the sweat has begun oozing within a short distance up the climb. Two thirds of the way up, the track opens out into a gorgeous shady glade with a Tahitian house set on the far side. Our two heroes momentarily think they have taken a wrong turning and are entering some private garden. Not a sign anywhere indicating this is private property, so they stride toward the shaded verandah in the hope that there may be a cool drink on offer from inside. Passing an open door of what looks to be some kind of a studio, they peer in and spy a lady wrapped in her pareu, working over a table spread with fine and brightly coloured cloths.

On becoming aware of someone in the doorway, she glances up, flashes a brilliant smile and invites them in most naturally, as if this is a commonplace occurrence and she has been expecting them. She straightens, turns toward them and walks with a natural grace over to a sideboard and pours two large glasses of what looks like water with lime. Turning once more, she glides over the matting of the hard earthen floor, placing each foot straight and directly in front of the other as she walks, like any well bred woman would. Smiling all the while, she arrives and hands the glasses to our adventurers with a ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome’. In their warm state of readiness she appears as a vision would, surrounded by some kind of halo, her skin glowing with a honeylicious epidermal effulgence. Gratefully accepted, the drinks are gulped down, the lime cutting the water delightfully, immediately satiating their thirst.

Ever watching them, eyes sparkling with amusement, she politely waits till they have taken their fill and asks, ‘was it a hot trek up the hill this morning?’ hiding her irony beneath that engaging smile. In the presence of such stately beauty, our two gallants mumble their thanks and begin to collect themselves. They ask if they are on the right path to the top and she satisfies their concern that indeed they are, and that her house happens to sit on the path. Appeased, and having noticed much framed Batik art hanging on the fronded walls, they set about asking her about her art.

‘I’ll show you’ she says, in delightfully French accented English.

Bending over the table, her tresses falling sensuously about her face and bare shoulders, hands fluttering delicately, she demonstrates how she paints the wax onto her fabrics. There are many pots of dyes strewn about, and having applied the wax, the fabric is dipped into the next colour of dye she wants.

Watching several stages of this complex waxing and dyeing process, she then moves to another table where she has a finished work ready for de waxing. Placing the absorbing paper on the fabric, she takes her hot iron over it and melts the waxes. As each layer melts into the paper another colour is exposed until, peeling off the last sheet, the final image is revealed. The finished image is complex and quite beautiful and many such examples grace her studio. This particular piece is a brightly coloured pareu which will hang on the rack along with all the others - all items are for sale.

Batik art is like painting in reverse in that the artist has to visualise the completed picture beforehand, and then go about applying the wax to the areas that are to remain the same colour and not affected by the next dye colour. So, there can be no mistakes with this art form, as there is no way back, once made they cannot be corrected. Watching her at work for half an hour – no other visitors during this time - gives our two a greater understanding of this art form and they are very impressed.

She comments with a wry grin that she receives most callers early morning and late afternoon when it is cooler. Expressing much admiration for her work and thanking her they take their leave, promising to call in again on their way down to select a suitable piece. A graceful, languid wave from her doorway sees them off on their next stage upward.'

You can read many more experiences such as this encountered whilst cruising, in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' downloadable from my website

1 comment:

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