Look no further than these two Bahamian fabric producers to dress your house, or yourself, to the nines in island fashion. Bahama Hand Prints and Androsia Hand Made Batik are both made locally and have captured the essence of “all t’ings Bahamian”.
Androsia began in 1973 on Andros Island when founder Rosi Birch started teaching local women how to batik. Created the same year the Bahamas became an independent nation, she decided to highlight the natural beauty of the Bahamas through the designs and in the colour of every piece of the handmade fabric.
Operated today by Rosi’s granddaughter, Casey Birch, Androsia fabric is created using an ancient Indonesian technique known as batik. Hot wax is applied with hand carved stamps to white fabric, and then the fabric is hand dyed in huge bathtubs, with the white wax offering a “resist”to the brilliant dyes. Hot water rinses remove the wax, leaving the brilliant white prints depicting shells, fish, flamingos, and flowers. All Androsia fabrics are“natural” fibres from the light voile used for pareos to the heavier canvases for bags and upholstery. Every yard is hand printed with the word Androsia as a way to differentiate it from imported copies.
Much like the early days, Androsia is still 100% Bahamian made, and it’s a beautiful sight to visit the factory in Fresh Creek, Andros and watch waves of colour with island prints, drying in the warm sun. Androsia fabrics and garments can be purchased direct at the factory in Fresh Creek, Andros, and fabrics are available in Nassau at Commonwealth Fabrics and in boutiques throughout the islands.
BAHAMA HAND PRINTS
Located in Nassau on Ernest Street (between Mackey St. and Okra Road) is Bahama Hand Prints, a silk-screening factory, with an in-house boutique offering garment, fabrics, and a variety of changing creations made of fabric. Founded in 1966 by Helen Astarita and Benta Sands who were inspired by a boutique selling screen printed fabrics in Key West, Florida, they brought the idea back to Nassau where it flourishes today.
Current owners since 2001, Linda Brown and Joie Lamare updated the vision and now offer garments, handbags and home accessories, as well as custom designs. Their home fabrics decorate windows, couches and cushions throughout the Bahamas with colourful island designs.
First the pattern is designed with a template, and then a screen is made to print the fabric. The colour is mixed, paint applied to the screen and imprinted on the fabric, the fabric is dried, then rolled and ready to be sold by the yard or cut into garments and accessories that are then sold through the boutique and in out island locations.
Both fabric designs and processes are unique to each company, and each company is the only one of its kind in the Bahamas. Whether you’re wearing a garment or sitting on a couch covered in these island inspired prints, you are the proud possessor of a unique piece of island colour and charm brought to life under the sunny skies of the Bahamas.
Photos from BHP Instagram and Androsia Instagram