Although I’ve been making batiks for most of my life, the intriguing process of wax-resist continues to fascinate me.
There is always more to explore. Using the finest primissima cotton from Java and a palette of the most lightfast fibre-reactive dyes, I construct my batik paintings in many layers, working light to dark.
Batik is an expressive medium. Sometimes I am challenged to take risks and apply the molten wax (pure beeswax) in broad sweeps with a wide fan brush. Other times I may carefully place hundreds of tiny wax dots with a canting (wax pen), in a process that is almost a meditation and profoundly relaxing.
An ancient method of applying pattern to fabric, it is thought that Batik originated in China over 2,000 years ago, before spreading to India, Japan, Indonesia and beyond.
The essence of this 'resist' medium is the fact that wax and water won't mix. Molten wax is applied in a pattern to areas of cloth. When the cloth is immersed in a cold water dye, the waxed areas will not absorb the dye and remain the original colour of the cloth. The wax is then removed - and the pattern remains.