Explaining how to set up positive/negative drawings for the wax resist technique.
Explaining how the machine works.
Setting up the machine.
Pattern inspiration — King Kong
Vlisco production number — 14/0820
Production date — 1950
Con il sostegno del progetto DE.MO./MOVIN’UP II sessione 2016 / With the support of the project DE.MO./MOVIN’UP II session 2016.
MOVIN’UP II session 2016 promoted by: Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism; General Directorate for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Suburbs; General Directorate for Performing Arts and GAI – Association for the Circuit of the Young Italian Artists.
Selvedge is used to identify authenticity and fabric origin; being one of the codes ‘…designed to help consumers distinguish between unauthorized counterfeit and authorised “True Original” fabrics.’
Read more about it here.
Image – Vlisco
New and improved to work on a larger scale.
Vlisco production number — H313
Production date — 1940
In May 1940, a Portuguese trader named Nogueira arrived in Helmond in the Netherlands to order a custom-made Wax Block. He conceived an idea for a design with six spark plugs (bougies), indicating that its wearer had a six-cylinder car, a sign of wealth.
During the Second World War, Vlisco was unable to carry out production operations, but numerous trial productions with ‘Six Bougies’ were conducted. After the war, this supply of fabric constituted the first shipment to the fully dried-up Congolese market, and it appears to have been an immediate success. The original featured a woman instead of a man, which allowed the design also to take on a different popular meaning: the woman in the middle is strong enough to take on six men.
Standing at the intersection between product, textile, and fashion design; as well as digital manufacturing, anthropological research and art, Digital Wax Print explores the relationship between digital fabrication and the manual technique of wax resist textile printing.
Vlisco production Number — 14/0017
Year of production — 1920
Education is a highly valued commodity in Africa. People wear this design to indicate that they went to school and know how to read and write. They also attach importance to a good education for their children, and they set aside money to provide it.
‘Pagne cloth constitutes a form of archive, where intimate memories are stored, held in reserve, and always ready to be reanimated with life, story, and sensuous materiality. The cloth as archive can also absorb national memories in its capacity to record events and global connections that forge national identity.’
Read more about it here.
Education often crops up in conjunction with other more traditional African themes. A pattern called Hands and Fingers shows the upturned palm of a hand surrounded by rows of detached fingers, with the hand holding twelve pennies. This design is very old, with some sources dating it as far back as 1895, and has been available in various forms from several companies ever since.
The education theme is expressed by the twelve pennies, which make up one shilling. In Africa, or for that matter anywhere, what could be more educational than how to add up your pennies?
Digging deeper into the Hands and Fingers design we find another universal theme: interdependence. This theme works on multiple levels, from the national and tribe all the way down to the village,
the compound and the family. Just as the hand is useless without
the fingers, the ruler or village elder cannot function without the support of the people.
In addition to elections and revolutions, commemorative prints have celebrated all sorts of events: births and deaths; birthdays and anniversaries; pop concerts and sporting events; and presidential, royal and papal visits. Cloths have been commissioned and printed for chiefs and dignitaries, governments and NGOs, schools and colleges, companies and trade unions, missions and churches.
Vlisco production number — 14/0575
Production date — 1933
Given names — Ludoking/Dice/le petit dé (Ivory Coast)/Kpékui (Small Stones, Togo)
Dice symbolise the importance of making a good plan, reflected in the organisation of the stones.
The design represents eyes that are red with tears. Its official name is Onion Chips, but its alternative name is more appropriate: Eye of My Rival.
Read more about it here.
Vlisco production number — 14/0663
Production date — 1936
Given names — Record/Plaque-plaque/Nsu Bura (water well, Ghana)/Target Consulaire Gbédjégan (Traditional King’s hat, Togo)
This motif is derived from the tie-dye technique and is popular in Mali. This circle motif is copied exactly as it is used by Western fashion and textiles to express an African idiom.
More info on this classic here.
Read up about the complicated history of wax resist printing here.
Unique patterns on wax-resist that normally take themes from our everyday lives, now come in the form of data fed into the machine and interpreted in it’s own particular ‘handwriting’.
See more here.
Following the contemporary stream of participative design and shared knowledge, we focused on offering accessibility in the form
of this innovation tool. Hacking an existing XY plotter, we substituted the drawing pen with a home-made electric Tjanting Tool, allowing
us to draw any image we create in wax on cotton cloth. Adapting the machine to the process – taking a traditional technique focused on repetition and connecting it to the expected accuracy of digital data for fabrication – we, as designers, re-appropriated the technique and are now able to confront both of these scales. Read more here.
Digital Wax Print is an innovation tool for experimenting, enriching the wax resist technique and introducing it into contemporary design practice.
The Digital Wax Print plotter is a lightweight and disassemblable means of taking production out of the factory and into unexpected locations, thus creating new scenarios and stories.