I mentioned my plan to introduce batik to friend and colleague, Danielle. She had batiked in high school and still had her piece - which now hangs prominently in my classroom. It is an eye-catching 3'x4' and is a great source of inspiration. This piece was done using the traditional tub-method of batik. In tub-batiking, the design is sketched on fabric, then the lightest areas are waxed (with a brush or tjanting tool). Waxing "saves" the color of the fabric under the wax. The entire piece is then submerged in a "tub" of dye( the lightest dye color). After that dries, the areas that are to remain that color are then "waxed" and the process continues, light to dark, until the piece is complete. The wax is then ironed out by placing the fabric between newspapers - and ironing until the newspapers no longer absorb wax (we are going through stacks)!
Tub batik was how I knew and understood the process. My students and I made a collaborative class batik using this method. Each student got to practice within a square. We worked our way from white to yellow to orange, red and finally brown. It was very difficult to see what was what by the end, but it was a fun way to practice techniques with the tjanting tools and gain an understanding of what it meant to have the wax too hot (which made it drippy and hard to control) or not hot enough (which meant that the wax wouldn't penetrate the fabric). We (hopefully) learned that we had to give up a little control and embrace the "drips!"
The wax-filled crock pots have been sitting in the supply closet for years. And who knows how long it has been since I worked with batik? Well, this is the year that the planets aligned and we ventured into creative discovery with batik.
In the meantime I had learned about a different type of batik from an art teacher colleague on Facebook - Incredibly helpful Joy Shultz - this is her blog post. Basically the students create design motifs and then lightly trace them onto the clean muslin. (I had them iron the muslin - and even this was a new learning experience for some!) They (painstakingly) outline their designs with wax and then paint the dye directly onto the muslin. Painting the dye directly onto the fabric has distinct advantages over tub dying. The colors remain true and vibrant and many colors can be mixed from the 8 separate dyes. For sure it creates a different look and it was interesting to experience both.
Art one is almost done - the bottom row still needs the wax to be ironed out - and then we'll add rods for hanging. AP and Art II is taking forever but I'm sure the results will be great. Check their blogs for progress in a week or so...