Dyemaker and Batik

Arianne King Comer was drawn to St. Helena Island after studying textile design and indigo dyeing in Nigeria. The rural sea island bridged Arianne’s knowledge of traditional African arts to its American counterpart, the arts of the low country Gullah culture.

To learn more about Arianne and her batiks, click on the videos below.

Land - Spanish Moss | A Natural State
Land - Spanish Moss | A Natural State

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Native Americans called it "tree hair." French colonists changed it to "Barbe espagnole," or "Spanish Beard," to ridicule the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Spanish moss survives as its common name...
Process of Making Batik - Step 1 | A Natural State
Process of Making Batik - Step 1 | A Natural State

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Arianne uses the batik process of fabric design, a traditional art she mastered while living with the Yoruba culture of Nigeria. Batik uses wax and layers of color to create vibrant images on textiles...
Land - St. Helena Island | A Natural State
Land - St. Helena Island | A Natural State

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The Gullah community of St. Helena struggles to promote the island's cultural and natural resources while preserving the environment for future generations. Livelihoods based on fishing, farming and...
Land - Robert Middleton | A Natural State
Land - Robert Middleton | A Natural State

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Robert Middleton left St. Helena at age 18, returning 45 years later after serving in the army, studying at Howard University, and a career of social work in Washington, D.C. and on an Apache Indian...
Land - Live Oak | A Natural State
Land - Live Oak | A Natural State

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Live oaks with broad, lumbering branches and beards of Spanish moss are a common sight in South Carolina’s coastal area. The tree’s resistance to wind and sea spray buffer the coast from seasonal...
Land - Penn Center | A Natural State
Land - Penn Center | A Natural State

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Several generations of the St. Helena community attended the historic Penn School, established as one of the first schools for freed slaves. In the 1950s and 1960s, the site served as a safe retreat...
Indigo Dye | A Natural State
Indigo Dye | A Natural State

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Indigo was grown extensively on the Sea Islands from the middle 1600s - late 1700s. Blue stained hands were a mark of slaves in the dye making and application trade. Though synthetic dyes are now used...
Spotlight - Arianne King Comer | A Natural State
Spotlight - Arianne King Comer | A Natural State

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Arianne grew up in a landscape of gardens, farms and the sea near Virginia Beach, Virginia. As a "child of nature," Arianne found an artistic release through dance and drawing. Arianne later studied...