November 29, 2010

tanned feet

on cotton 75 x 58cm

I've always been fascinated by my feet (even before I broke one); and with the first snow falling over Paris, I kind of miss sea and sun!!
Also experimenting with using my first djanting.

November 27, 2010


I've had a lot of people ask me what Batik is - and how it's done.

So first : Batik is a wax resist dyeing technique in fabric. It is an ancient art form whose origin is mostly from around Indonesia and Malaysia.  Mostly batik is used to make clothing fabric, with the use of repetitive patterns.  Contemporary batik artists use the technique in a vast variety of ways.

In preparation of the exhibition in March, I decided to get an explanatory board of 'my' way done.

A small batik shown in all the steps :

1.  Drawing and tracing onto the fabric.  I use a ballpoint pen so that it doesn't wash out in the successive dyeing.

2. Painting on hot wax on the fabric to seal the colour - starting with the white.  I actually have a pretty simple set-up : an electric hotplate, a small enamel pot, a mix of parrafin and bees wax, a variety of brushes (but I must admit that I almost exclusively use 2 favourites).  My table is up against my bay-windows, and since I always work with the window open to minimise the wax smell in the house, I wear sweaters!!

How it works is that wherever the wax has seeped into the fabric, the dye will not penetrate.  The beeswax 'holds' onto the fabric, and the paraffin allows it to crack, which is a characteristic of batiks.

You have to stretch the fabric in order to work properly (kind of like a stretched painting canvas); when it's a small piece I just stretch the part I'm working on between my fingers; for the larger batiks though, I stretch it on a soft wood frame (an old Ikea picture frame) wit thumb tacks, since I remove it off the frame for the dyeing.

3. Use of cold dyes to colour the fabric.  This takes place in my kitchen, next to the sink.  The newspaper is to protect the countertop, and also because I wipe off the excess dye once I take the fabric out of the dye bath.

4. After all the steps of dyeing and waxing; I iron out the batik, the heat melts the wax onto newspaper (I also use absorbant paper towels for greater efficiency).


November 16, 2010

I walk barefoot

on cotton
71 x 51cm

because I've always liked the feel of the earth under my feet..

November 07, 2010

the things we do for.. Ber

on cotton
25 x 49cm

As a child in Dehradun, I used to wander off with the dogs, scrambling through thorny bushes to get my fill of Ber (Indian Jujube);  coming home with arms full of scratches, pockets full of Ber, and often a belly ache - but always a big smile.
I wasn't the only one searching!

November 05, 2010

Because I like Crows

on cotton canvas
35 x 53cm

The original idea for the commission batik was with a crow, until I realised that some people cnsider crows bad luck.  Frankly, I find them beautiful; so I made it for myself.

Working with cotton canvas just after silk is a little frustrating; but it was still full of personal pleasure.

First commission

Cherry Blossom dream
on silk 33 x 44cm

We'll call it a Nightingale..
on silk 33 x 44cm

A good friend asked for 2 batiks to be given as gifts : to a sister, and to a young couple..
the only (very vague) direction given was 'something romantic'

Working on silk has its own charm, and its own challenges - colours are much lighter, I've had to dye over each colour several times to get a coulour deep enough to get the contrasts that I was looking for.  The waxing is however, a lot easier - you need less wax and its easier to get fine lines.  The transperency of the silk is ideal for a double glass framing - allowing for light from behind!

This is my first 'sale' - does that officialise the Artist status?  In some way, it makes me nervous.

(Photos published here with the friend's permission)