"Roots Seychelles": Creative couple offers workshops on sun printing for locals and visitors
The artworks can be found in their souvenir shop located close to their atelier. (Roots Seychelles)
Using the abundant heat of the sun, a couple in Seychelles are holding workshops for locals and visitors on how to create unique designs using an old textile printing method known as sun printing.
Conducted by husband-and-wife creative duo, Tony and Stephannie Souffe, the workshops are offered under their brand name "Roots Seychelles." Those who chose to spend a few hours with the couple, not only walk away with the knowledge of the sun printing technique, but also their own uniquely designed pareo or scarf.
Nestled in the hills of La Batie, Beau Vallon, the humble workspace for this unique activity is just a set-up of tables in an element-exposed space in the couple's backyard.
|The workshop is a set up of tables in the couple's backyard. (Roots Seychelles) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
SNA met with the duo in their small souvenir shop on a beautiful sunny morning to learn more about "Roots Seychelles". Tony, who is a Rastafarian, shared that "Roots Seychelles" started in 2013 with the simple concept of branding Seychelles.
"I am a nature activist and as such, I work with nature. I want to show people the joys that nature can bring for us. Also, being an islander, I always want the island to shine and this is what we try to do through the work that we do," said Tony.
He shared that the sun printing process is a simple one. When guests arrive on the premises, they are provided with a woven basket to collect flowers, leaves, and ferns that they wish to use in their design.
They then proceed to a table, where a white cloth pareo or scarf has been spread and pinned to the table. The fabric is drenched using water following which the visitor places their collected plants in the pattern of their choice, weighting and pinning them as they go along.
|Roots Seychelles is the creation of husband-and-wife duo, Tony and Stephannie Souffe. (Roots Seychelles) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
Paint is then applied over the design and left to dry in the sun. Due to the country's proximity to the equator, the intensity of the heat from the sun, an important element in their printing technique, is ideal to bring to life nature-inspired images.
"The fabric is processed with the intensity of the sun's heat and this is what sets the dye on the fabric. The plants block out the areas in which you want the designs to appear. The beautiful thing is that you do not need any experience to do this and it is an activity for all ages," explained Tony.
Stephannie, explaining the reason behind the brand name, shared that when she and Tony had just met, he always talked about going back to his African roots.
"He always wanted to do things the traditional and simple way, with plants and nature, and that is why we named it "Roots Seychelles." His ancestors - his roots - were also a big inspiration to us and they are featured on our logo," shared Stephanie.
|Stephannie also illustrates maps of places the couple has visited. (Roots Seychelles) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
Over the years, the artworks, which started with sun printing, expanded to other textile printing techniques, illustrated maps, and natural healing products, all of which can be found in their souvenir shop, located close to their atelier.
Also available at "Roots Seychelles" are hand-painted illustrated maps of the islands of Seychelles. Each one is different and highlights key areas of the island and every year there are updates to it. Stephannie also illustrates maps of places the couple has visited.
"My goal is to do a map of every island of Seychelles, currently I'm working on a map of D'Arros," said Stephannie.
The artworks of "Roots Seychelles" are available at their shop, in some hotels, and online.