Monday, December 28, 2020

Batik Project

 From Tapa cloth in the South Pacific Islands, to West African Kente cloth, to Indonesian Batik. Our textile unit was taking us all around the world and teaching us about different techniques and cultures. Most batik in Indonesia is made in Java, and the process is very long and fascinating. There are lots of videos on Youtube to walk you through the process. Images are drawn on fabric with hot wax to use as a stop out. Or metal stamps are dipped in wax to print repeated patterns onto fabric. Then the fabric is dyed and the wax stop out remains white (or the pre-wax dyed fabric color). In some cases, the fabric is bleached and the wax protects the colors that it covers. There are a lot of options for a lot of outcomes, but the premise is one of wax resist.

Our class used Elmer's glue with varying results. So much of the liquid watercolor came out when the glue was being washed away, even though it dried. So we went back with fabric dye. Probably the best results were drawing with glue, painting the outlined shapes with diluted acrylic and then rinsing the glue out once all the colors were dry and set. (This is what was done with the turtle image above). Occasionally, the student would choose to not rinse the glue at all, so that it could remain tactile. In any case, it was fun to explore how fabric can be used to make art, and to think about how so much of what we wear is being dyed by real artisans on the other side of the globe.

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