Thursday, July 05, 2018

Revisiting an Art Form


The above batik is hanging in the powder room off the stairway in my house. It is something I did over 35 years ago when I lived in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. The dyes we used were from Germany. The bamboo room where I worked at the foot of the Palace smelled like pine from the rosin that was melted into the beeswax and paraffin mixture. If you want to read about that time in my life, you can go here.


I wanted to see the batik culture in St. Kitts which was on a hill near an abandoned sugar plantation.  They drive on the "wrong" side of the road, so we got a driver at the hotel who ended up being our guide most of the other days. 

I was somewhat disappointed, as I knew I would be because it was really very commercial with only a very simple view of what they did with an emphasis on selling stuff.  Their work is very bright, colorful, and simple in nature.  We got there in the offseason which was WONDERFUL as the store was pretty small with examples of the stages of batiking and photos of celebrity visits such as Prince Phillip.  Inside was close and stifling even with the various fans running.  There were no exotic odors...just bored salespeople.  I bought two small neck scarves as this style is not my style...

The area around the store has lovely gardens and a famous 400-year-old tree probably photographed millions of times!  It is a Saman tree which is in the pea family.  Sometimes it is called a monkeypod tree. The blooms are fuzzy balls (like something I have seen called a bottlebrush tree in the tropics) but it was not blooming when we visited.  Can you imagine what this giant has seen??  Yes, that is hubby in the blue shirt down below.  Try as I might I could not get the entire tree in the frame even with my wide-angle lens.


We walked around the gardens and even sat a bit since we were on our own this first day, without hungry and restless grandchildren and with rum drinks everywhere---virgin for hubby.





Temperatures were in the mid to high 80sF with the wonderful trade winds.  Much more comfortable than here at home in the mid-Atlantic.

Another labeled tree on the grounds was the calabash which is used for medicinal purposes with the outer shell dried and made into bowls.



All of this is situated on the Romney Manor, owned originally by Earl of Romney when colonial life was elegant and guilt free.  The manor and sugar plantation were later owned by Sam Jefferson the great, great, great, grandfather of the third President of the United States.  Family wealth built on the backs of slaves living and dying on a former sugar plantation.

Next post about the beach and climate change.

15 comments:

  1. What a tree!

    And you found Mrs Calabash? :)

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  2. You have artistic talent. I'm sure you'll be a good painter.
    Wonderful photos, the tree's expanse feels surreal. Nature is a wonder.

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  3. That tree is amazing. We have old oaks, even they don’t spread quite that much.

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  4. That tree is majestic! Imagine the stories it could tell.

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  5. I love the tree, and thanks for the link to go back and learn a little more about you.

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  6. Beautiful bright colors in your pictures and the batik. Good dyes are hard to find around here! Andrea

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  7. Beautiful batik you made and beautiful vegetation you captured in photographs.

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  8. I love your pretty batik, and the rest of the information was very interesting. And that is one HUGE tree! :-)

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  9. wow, I'm impressed. your batik is lovely. the garments in the store look more like they are made with material off a bolt. and the tree is magnificent.

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  10. Sorry you didn't find any work as good as yours there. No galleries? Yes, that cat is perfectly delightful. Mid 80's is warm. Today here it is to be in the 100+ range.

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  11. I wrote on the old entry, "It's really a good piece, but the story around it is the keeper. I'm siting here smiling."

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  12. There's not much that can compare to an outstanding tree! If you were disappointed with what was inside I'm sure going outside to that tree would have made up for it. Your artwork is lovely!

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  13. VISITING AGAIN
    YOU NEED TO PAINT ONCE AGAIN
    WE ALL NEED A CREATIVE OUTLET.
    AFTER DIVORCE 42 YEARS AGO I BEGAN TO DESIGN SIMPLE HOMES, BUILD THEM AND PLANT GARDENS AND THEN MOVE ONTO ANOTHER ONE WHEN I SOLD IT
    12 YEARS AGO STARTED WRITING ONLINE JOURNAL AS I HAVE ALWAYS KEPT HANDWRITTEN JOURNALS. SO I CONTINUE ONWARD WITH A HANDWRITTEN JOURNAL AND ONE ONLINE, MISS DIGGING IN THE DIRT, NOW WATCH THE WEEDS SURFACE UNTIL SOME HELP ARRIVES AND I POINT OUT WEEDS.
    ENOUGH SHARED :)

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  14. It sounds like you are heading toward painting. It's a rewarding creative activity, I think-- much needed in our times.

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Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.