A little while back I had grand plans for changing my header here on the blog. Those plans did not come to fruition. (I did, however, update the photo from a clip art picture to one that I actually took myself and I like how it turned out. The stone wall is kind of whimsical!)
The plan was to create a batik to go along with my manuscript. My main character, Tess, is a dirt bike rider. I envisioned a cool-looking batiked image of a female dirt bike rider with her pony tail flying in the wind… It was really awesome – in my head.
My oldest daughter working on her “totally rad” batik of a Fender guitar. And even though this is molten wax, no children were harmed in the making of this batik.
Then I got down to business and remembered how hard it is to batik. My daughters got in on the action, too, and had fun with it. I used to do lots of batiking before I had kids and having molten wax around the house became a bad idea. Now they are pretty much old enough to be careful with it.
If you are unfamiliar with batik, a simple explanation is that you create a design on cloth using wax and dye. Where ever you put the wax essentially blocks out the dye. So, it’s kind of like painting in reverse. You have to think backwards. For example, you start out putting on your first application of wax, followed by dipping it in, say, yellow dye. Where ever you put the wax – it stays white. When it’s dried, you put your next application of wax on and then dip it in dye again. Let’s say this time you use red dye. That means that where you put the second application of dye, it will stay yellow but now the rest of the fabric is orange. And so on.
When you’re all done, you remove the wax either by ironing it off onto newspaper or by boiling it off.
If you do a search for batik images, you will find some absolutely amazing works of art.
My fatal error was in forgetting how difficult it becomes to make the colors come out right after you add a few layers of colors together. I finished my batik and even messed around with it to create a banner. But it turned out too dark.
So it’s back to the drawing board! Or the wax and dye board in this case, I guess. My goal next time around: use better dye (not the cheapo stuff I used this time) and plan out the layers better ahead of time! All art is about process and experimentation, right?
Anybody out there ever done batiking? I’m self-taught so if there is anyone with some expertise who can give me some tips, I’d gladly take them!