Monday, May 17, 2010


Been doing some soy wax batik and I realized that I haven't done it for quite a while. Since we no longer get a newspaper delivery, I had to scrounge newspapers for the ironing out process. I tried using a boiling water bath and it did work, but it took a long time, and was very messy. Good thing I did it outside because there were lots of wax drips.

So the good thing about soy wax is that it is soluble in water. This can also be a drawback, particularly if you want to get the "crackle" that is so much a mark of batik. Getting a good crackle involves immersing the waxed cloth in a dyebath. Soy wax will dissolve in a dyebath. Except now that I think about it, it wasn't all that easy to get the wax off in cool water, so maybe this is something to experiment with.

Anyhow, I was trying to get a crackle effect on this piece, so after doing one layer with a tjap and getting the sort of leafy effect, I covered the piece with wax, cracked it, and painted on diluted paint, working it into the cracks. I ironed this piece to get the wax out and since I knew that a lot of the paint was sitting on top of the wax, I figured that as the wax melted through the fabric, the paint would get deposited. Here is the piece after ironing. It's stiff as a board.

After washing in hot water and detergent, the fabric softened up and some of the heavier crackle disappeared, although not nearly as much as I was afraid it would. It's a little bit more subtle, if you can call red on orange and yellow "subtle".

I really like this second piece. I applied the wax with a paint brush and you can see the brush marks, sort of. I applied the first layer of wax onto white fabric, then painted on dilute light green paint. After that dried, I brushed on another layer of wax, crumpled the fabric to crack the wax, then applied a darker green shade of paint. I think that this was one of the pieces that I boiled the wax to remove it, then washed it. Here is the before picture.

And the after. It looks like the color has lightened up a bit, but that may be the result of less than expert scanning. I really like the painterly effects and the randomness and how the colors blend into each other. And the edges where the color falls off - love that.

Right now in the studio I'm making some small pieces to put in a sales gallery along with a show. My group New Image is having a show at the Lorton Workhouse Gallery in Lorton, Virginia. It's titled Yard Art at the Yard and is an interpretation of the various uses of the word Yard. My pieces in the show are done with leaf prints, so I'm making some small (5"x7") pieces mounted on painted stretched canvas using more leaves. As I'm making these, I'm getting some small pieces from cuttings that I thought I would make into those Art Cards, ACEO - Art Cards, Editions and Originals. They're really small - 2.5" x 3.5", the size of a baseball trading card. When I get them finished, I'll post some pictures.