Pinney's Beach Nevis, Hummingbird, St Kitts, Man, Nevis

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Caribelle Batik Clothing

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Romney Manor, the home of Caribelle Batik, is a Caribbean landmark estate located of off  Old Road, 10 miles west of Basseterre (tel. 869/465-6253).
Carol and I visited the chattel style buildings housing the preparation and dying processes with York our driver as we made our journey around the Island and we spent a pleasant couple of hours touring the beautiful grounds and watching the fascinating process that produces such fine prints.

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A restored estate house originally built built around 1625 as a manor house for sugar baron Lord Romney, this is part of the Wingfield Estate once owned by future US President Thomas Jefferson's grand parents set on the slopes of a dormant volcano. Its location, at the edge of the rainforest, accounts for the fertility of the soil that has enabled a variety of tropical fruit trees and flowers to flourish, including 30 varieties of hibiscus, rare orchids and huge ferns, and entrance to the gardens is free!
The Manor garden was designed in the middle of the 19th century and is set in nine manicured acres.
Dominating the lower level of the garden is a spreading 350-year-old Saman Tree, a popular venue for many a couple to exchange their wedding vows. On the manicured lawn surrounded by orchids and flowering shrubs, an elegant traveller's palm provides another favourite location for wedding ceremonies. In 1995, a tragic fire and hurricane completely gutted the historic building, but it has since been rebuilt and extended

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Archaeologists are in the process of excavating the old estate and discovering underground ovens, sugar boiling houses and an aqueduct - making it the only water-driven estate on the island. Having toured the splendid gardens, with their stunning views of the Caribbean sea, York took Carol and I to see how this process, more than 2,500 years old is still practised today in the grounds of the Manor.

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The artists work in light airy surroundings preparing the designs with pens dipped in hot bees wax.
The centuries old process of Batik, an ancient method of hand painting cotton, originated in Indonesia using fabrics, designs, wax and dyes

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The process is fairly straight forward. Hot bees wax is boiled in pots to keep it liquid, and is applied via a hollow tubed pen which dribbles the hot wax over the ready sketched design. All areas thus sketched will remain white.

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After the dying process, the print is re-waxed before dying again until all the required colours have been used. You are then left with a piece of material that is mainly covered in wax. Finally the cotton is boiled in water to dissolve the wax

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The less glamorous but essential task of dying the material between wax applications

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Highlight colours as well as decorations such as beads are finally added

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Finally you take your credit card over to the shop and do your bit for the tourist economy

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On offer is an extensive range from scarves to dresses, along with an comprehensive collection of wall hangings. You can also buy Batik from their shop outlet in Basseterre

Activities   Beaches    Diving   Ecology   Exploring   Fort Brimstone   Fun Facts   Geography   Home   Hotels   MDDM   Stamps   St Kitts & Nevis   Travel info   Whales and Dolphins   Wildlife
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