Tag: Michele Hamman

Bahia Art Ceramic and Textile Studio: The Husband’s Opinion, again

Michele Hamman Bahia Art Ceramics Textile Fabric Studio Dundee handprinted natural cotton ribbon

Well, what can I say about this explosion of effort, innovation and back-breaking hard work that it has been my privilege to witness over the last five years ? We started off on a bang with the bags, but had since redirected our efforts into more particular types of bags, and have given the tote bag a bit of a rest. Dundee has since been cursed with one of the worse droughts in the history of Kwazulu-Natal, and that has restricted Michele no end in her creativity. Well, you do need water to prepare a silk screen for printing, you know.

No matter. We have since manhandled a 210 litre plastic drum into position, make-shifted a tap into it, and voila!!! The high pressure pump is happy, and so is the screen. We have been forced to stop working when the taps ran dry (as they now do every day) but now more. Thanks to Jojo Tanks in Glencoe, she can continue with her colour plays. Michele has since become a wizard in perfecting a multiple print design onto the screen and then on to the clear, unworked fabric on the printing table.

A, yes…the screen printing table. That had been an effort of note, but we built it, and many a printed roll of fabric later, we can testify that on effort is the best solution.

This little gem is just starting to outgrow its kiddie shoes. Stay tuned, peeps….!!

And, as always, thanks kindly for taking the effort to read here.

Be well.


Bahia Art: ‘n Liefde vir materiaal en ‘n nuwe “venture” begin ….

Soos julle almal reeds weet het ons hier by Bahia Art ‘n groot liefde vir tekstiele, die kleur daarvan, die silkscreen daarvan en die gebruik daarvan.  Ons deel ons unieke kreatiewe skeppings al lank met julle.  Na vele navra het ons besluit om tog die sprong te waag en gaan ons nou materiaal per meter druk.  Ons is baie opgewonde oor hierdie nuwe pad wat ons gaan loop en weereens wil ons dit met julle deel.  Dit is tog per slot van sake julle, ons getroue kliënte wat ons inspireer om altyd beter te doen en met meer kreatiewe gebruike van kleur en materiaal vorendag te kom .
Ons gaan nog ons unieke handsakke maak met ons eie gedrukte materiaal maar nou kan julle ook van ons materiaal, wat slegs by Bahia Art beskikbaar wees, koop om julle eie skeppings te maak.  Ons het ‘n paar basiskleure waarop ons ‘n verskeidenheid van ontwerpe en kleure gaan print maar ons gaan ook , vir nou ‘n beperkte paar handgekleure basiskleure hê waarop ons ook ons eie ontwerpe gaan print.
Ons gaan julle op hoogte hou van hieraf, en probeer om elke week ‘n “update” te gee van hoe ver ons is totdat ons, ons eerste stuk material beskikbaar kan stel.

 Bahia Art Michele Hamman handprinted cotton ribbon silkscreened by hand textile designer Michele Hamman Bahia Art handprinted cotton ribbon ceramics screenprinted textiles Dundee Kwazulu-Natal

Hier is ons besig om materiaalaankope te doen.  Dit was ‘n groot heerlikgeit !!  Soos altyd het ons net 100% katoen gekry wat ons net so kan gebruik en ons het ook gekry om te kleur en dan te print.
Volgende week vertel en wys ons wat ons in die week gedoen het en hoe ver ons is om alles in plek te kry.


Bahia Art Handbags – the how and where …..

Firstly, its been a long time since our last post…. but we have been inundated with ribbon orders.  We are now printing personalized labels, name tags etc.  If you want a special message for a birthday, wedding or any special handmade goodies contact us with your ideas and we will see if we can put them on our cotton ribbon for you.  With that said, on to our main purpose for this post ….

I am going to take you through the steps of making a Bahia Art handbag.

We start off by buying plain fabrics, either pre-dyed or in their natural state, which is either cream or white.  We then dye them with fibre-reactive dye by hand.  Now there are various methods of doing this.  We can dye the pieces in a dye vat over heat, which is what we do quite often for achieving flat colours.  For the purpose of this post I am going to use the Shibori technique which is very exciting to do.  Hard and tedious work, but exciting.

Bahia Art Michele Hamman Screenprinting handprinted natural cotton ribbon textile designer

After choosing our method we stitch, bind or fold our fabric.  I have decided to stitch mine and gather it all up and then put it in the dye bath and leave it there for a few hours.  It is then rinsed under running water, the stitches are then removed (and half of the wow moment was experienced) and then washed by machine to get rid of all the excess dye.  It is only then that the real WOW moment comes to light.

Michele Hamman handprinted and dyed fabrics Dundee Bahia Art

When completely dry it is back to the drawing board to decide what else to do with the piece of fabric.  Most of the time I silk screen some designs to enhance the overall look of the “handbag-to-be”  I like to make one of a kind bags and keep it exclusive by making only one of each.  Our methods might be the same but colour combinations and pattern combinations are never the same.

Michele Hamman Bahia Art handprinted cotton ribbons dyed fabrics DundeeMichele Hamman Bahia art handprinted and dyed fabric screenprinted tote bag

Our NEW design Tote bags are going to be less formal and a bit to the casual side but still exclusive to our high standard of manipulating the fabric to its full potential to bring you a high quality, very neatly 100% handmade handbag.

We are busy with a new batch of handbags and will post as soon as we are done.

Bahia Art – A Husband’s Opinion

Michele working with her screen prints another fabulous piece of hand printed textile soon to see the light. Bahia Art Dundee
Labouring away…

Well, we knew that we were moving to the sticks, so to speak, but we had no inkling that it would inspire one of the brightest sparks that I have ever seen. We built a studio for Michele when we moved here almost nine years ago, as she was an ardent potter at the time. No novice either, as she had produced some of the most stunning ceramic pieces it was ever my good luck to see and experience.

The SA Ceramics Regional Exhibition in Durban thought so, too. Something else was missing, however, Michele was not a trained textile designer for nothing, it seemed. The next aware moment I had, was of her starting to fiddle with bag patterns, bag making bibles and a mindboggling array of textile samples, paint pots, brushes (many, many brushes…!!) and long, mind-numbing hours of reading technical manuals. Ok, so the first successful handbag did not exactly pounce on us like a hungry tiger, panting to be released. We were sitting in Dundee, in the back of beyond in Kwazulu-Natal, remember…?

Many frustrating phone calls, negotiating with supremely unsympathetic suppliers, who wanted us to buy everything in bulk and then ship it in to Dundee, started to nag at me, breeding all kinds of suspicions that they do not want small studios to succeed. We wanted a bag of D-rings, but they said we must buy 500 of them. We wanted 50 metres of natural cotton fibre, but they said we must take a 1000 meters. Minimum order, you see…? But this girl of mine persevered. She camped on the internet and the phone, and bought every book and magazine she could lay her hands on. The little Internet shop was her dream. She had stars in her eyes when that first bag appeared on the table, and what a thing of beauty it was. Twenty bags later, and a long slog on the computer (we were still pretty much feeling our way through WordPress ) we had all the bags on the website.

The clock was creeping towards midnight. She looked at me and said she wanted to check her email. just quickly, mind you. There was the first bag order. Sitting in the inbox, smiling at us. The next morning there were many more, and before sundown that next day, all the bags were gone. Wow…!!! The respect began to grow in me, but I said nothing, at first. Trouble began to manifest itself in the shape of capricious suppliers, who changed the rules with every single order. This led to more frustration, and new plans. Back to the Internet, and she started to strike gold, albeit only temporary in some respects. You would get the most beautiful cotton fibre ribbon from a supplier with the first order, and with the next one they would very prissily inform you that they are no longer keeping that ribbon. Silk screen-printing was a familiar old friend, and Michele soon began to print her own ribbons. I stood in the door of the studio and watched, with my jaw dropping lower and lower with every batch that came out from under that little woman’s hands. She though of sending a letter and some pictures to the Ideas magazine.

She did write a letter to TUIS, the Afrikaans version of the Home magazine, sending them a picture of her beautifully printed little ceramic tiles. The Idea submission fell though the cracks, but we did make contact with them later, and then the gods of Fortune smiled upon Bahia Art for the very first time. Both the Ideas and TUIS magazine came out with her tiles and bags, and that at the same time….!!!! The response was one of awe. We started running with bag orders, and people started writing about her. I watched from the sidelines, a non-combatant in this eternal war of publicity. Michele was working like a demon to satisfy all the environmental factors that now impinged upon her personal bubble. We had to look for new sowing machines. The eternal capitalist battle with the competition, whom I still think sucks big time, if you compare the utter quality of Michele’s work, down to the minutest  detail, was only just beginning. No band of formerly disadvantaged personalities sitting on the shop floor, stitching bag skeletons together yet. No cooks or bottlewashers. just Michele, a few printing screens, hundreds of detailed little colourful minutiae, a bullterrier, tons of textiles, infinitesimal patience and good old-fashioned talent. You go, girl…!!!!!   Thank you kindly for reading our post. Please feel free to comment, and find us on Facebook.   Michele can be found on www.bahiart.co.za or on the attached Facebook link. Go subscribe to the newsletter now and don’t miss an update again   Johannes…..