by Kim Kachmann

Working in partnership with the Island Recreation Association and sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, local artist Stella-Lee Anderson will be leading a community art initiative to enrich the newly remodeled Rec Center this spring.

Over the next several weeks, Stella will be teaching local volunteers and participants from Memory Matters the art of batik. She will demonstrate how to create batik artwork on 6 in. x 6 in. square textiles. The technique uses hot wax and dye to create a repeating pattern or shape. First, the artist draws the design before sealing it with hot wax. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original color. The process can be repeated to create more and more elaborate and colorful designs.

“I love the idea of doing something out of my comfort zone,” Stella said.

Stella’s objective is to weave together all of the batik textiles crafted by herself and the community to create a large wall hanging for the entrance of the Rec Center. The purpose of the artwork includes educating children and their parents about lesser-known endangered and extinct species in the Lowcountry.

Within the piece she will feature the endangered Wood Stork, Swallow-Tailed Corks, and Red Knots that feed on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. Over-harvesting of horseshoe crabs along the central Atlantic Coast has led to a sharp reduction in this food source for migratory shorebirds. Stella will also feature local endangered mammals, including the American Mink, North American Right Whale, and West Indian Manatee, and endangered or threatened marine life from the Lowcountry, such as the Carolina Pygmy Sunfish, Short Nose Sturgeon, and Cownose Ray.

She envisions part of the backdrop of the artwork to be a wavy white and indigo sea. Indigo was the foundation of centuries-old batik traditions throughout West Africa.  According to Louise Cohen, Founder of the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island, “Indigo was the second largest cash crop in SC after rice. Eliza Pinckney introduced it to the region after experiencing it in West Africa. Not only did South Carolinians love the color, they desired the indigo batik artwork so much that they sent people over from Africa to teach Americans how to do it!”

“The project also celebrates the production and harvesting of Indigo on the island,” Stella said.

The large-scale 8ft. by 8ft. wall hanging will be displayed in the new Carmines Recreation Building for all to enjoy.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and being facilitated by the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The program will also feature several presenters and performers at the Rec Center who will highlight the history and continuing significance of the people and the culture.

The schedule of remaining events is as follows:

  • Adult Indigo Presentation and Tie-Dye Workshop with artist Margot Pickett at the Island Rec on March 11, 2019 at 10:30 AM.
  • Adult Batik Workshop with artist Hank Herring at the Island Rec on March 18, 2019 at 2 PM

Stella will be working to assemble the final product at the Island Rec on Mondays in February and March from 2-4PM.   

Stop by and watch or ask questions!   Or register online to attend the indigo or batik workshops here!