Art Fabrik

Nestled among the ancient buildings one with burnt orange walls and bright blue shutters stands out like a beacon. Once the home of a fish monger, this 250 year old building with its weathered beams, antique bricks and fish scale roof tiles, now houses Art Fabrik Grenada, a boutique, batik studio and treasure trove of high quality art and craft.

Owners/Directors Chris Mast and Lilo Nido are a study in opposites. Chris is the soft spoken, almost shy, one while Lilo is exhuberant and voluble. Both are widely traveled artists in their own right, who have been successfully blending their talents for over 20 years to design, produce and market authentic and exclusive batik fabric inspired by the vibrant colours, flora and fauna of Grenada.

“Chris started in just one room 25 years ago”, Swiss born Lilo explains, “and 5 years later I joined her having come to Grenada on a visiting yacht.”

Today, Chris and Lilo have a thriving business which utilizes the skills of talented Grenadian artisans. Not for them the computer generated designs and synthetic fabrics so prevalent today; rather, their aim is to preserve and promote the ancient art of handmade batik using original designs and natural fibres.

A tour of the studio and workshop reveals all stages of the process. Up narrow steep stairs are the production rooms. Lilo’s drawing table is overflowing with original designs which will be traced onto fabric.

Then comes the exacting task of painting the outlines with hot beeswax using a genuine Indonesian ‘tjanting tool’ to create areas of resistance to the dyes. Next cold water dyes are applied. The waxing and dyeing is then repeated for each new colour.

Now, it’s time for the fabric to be taken downstairs to the small washing and drying area. Here it is dipped into boiling water to melt the wax, shaken, then plunged into cold water to replenish the softness to the fabric and hung out to dry in the sun and cooling breeze. Once the process is complete, the fabric is placed into bundles of like colours and stored, ready to be transformed into fashionable clothing and accessories as well as decorative items for the home.

Back in the cool of the air-conditioned boutique, many of these creations are on sale together with intriguing handcrafted jewellery and gift items. Take your time! Browsing at Art Fabrik is not to be rushed and the charming sales assistants are always eager to help and offer information on the origin of the items.

On the Caribbean fashion scene Art Fabrik has been a major player with runway models strutting the catwalks clad in their colourful, authentic, batik creations. But while Chris and Lilo may have kept to the age old traditions and methods of creating batik textiles, they fully recognise the value of modern technology in bringing their wearable art to a wider market by offering their products on-line. Orders can be placed for items pictured on their website.  Alternatively, custom made pieces can be created and shipped to anywhere in the world.

Lilo is passionate about what she does, her creativity and appreciation for the natural beauty and heritage of the Caribbean are evident in her designs which include flora and fauna, sea life and ancient petroglyphs. Her clothing line for women is easy, comfortable and flowing.

In Grenada, Art Fabrik creations can also be found in boutiques at Calabash Hotel, La Luna Resort and Fidel at Port Louis.

 

Discuss Art Fabrik

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