Gladys Ayorkor Ayi
Batik and tie-dye apparel and accessories in West Africa
"It's inspiring when people buy my designs and come back again to buy more. They tell me my batik is of good quality because it doesn't fade.""I work in batik, a wax-resist dying process, and also enjoy tie-dye art. My friends describe me as a hardworking, God-fearing woman and I share my knowledge with others. I was born in 1976 in Accra.
"I wanted to be a nurse but I couldn't get admitted in the nursing school because I failed mathematics. I spent ten good years planning to be a nurse without knowing it really wasn't my field.
"I became interested in batik because I admire nature and the environment a lot. I was taught by a friend and later learned even more from an experienced artisan.
"One day, I took a bold step and entered a youth employment teaching program. I attended the batik workshop and practiced constantly to master this art. In less than three years, I found myself teaching and, at the same time, managing my own batik workshop. I've done this since 2007. I also teach tie and dye.
"Starting on my own wasn't easy because I had no money. I had to borrow from friends and from the bank to buy materials and ended up paying interest on the loan. At one point, I had to stop working because I couldn't buy the materials. However, a rural enterprise program and business advisory center helped with some funds to revive my workshop.
"It's inspiring when people buy my designs and come back again to buy more. They tell me my batik is of good quality because it doesn't fade.
"My hope is to be a woman who will impart the skill of batik to youth who are ready to learn. My dreams are to sell more and grow my workshop."