22 November 2009

batik and chicken feet

I gave batik a whirl for the first time today. And I figured what better way to give it a shot then to take a class with Rayna Gillman?

But before I could start with the fabric and the wax, I actually had to make it to the class. Which proved to be a little bit of an adventure in and of itself. Woke up to this today:

Which is actually a little bit deceiving because in reality, the fog was waaaayyy thicker then this. I ended up taking the highway rather then the back roads hoping they would feel less like driving underwater but it didn't. Nothing starts a day on the right note like having to drive at 45mph on the highway in order to feel comfortable with the whole twenty feet of visibility you have.

But, I made it there in one piece and drug all my stuff into class and plopped down at a table. Rayna was hosted by the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild and I only knew a couple of people there. So it was fun to meet some new fellow fiber addicts.

Rayna dove right in with a demo:

And then set us loose to reek havoc on our fabric. We applied soy wax and then painted with textile paints. This is the very first one I did:

I'm not digging this one so much. Usually I just let whatever surface design I'm applying do its own thing but I felt like the batik needed some closer attention. (This sort of made me twitch, I'm not too much about being precise. Of course, the desire to be neater was my own weird thing, not Rayna's instruction. I'm still not sure where that really came from.)

One of the issues I was having was that I brought my wood letter press blocks to print with. Lately I've been fascinated with using letters and numbers to create pattern and thought this would be a great chance to use these. Yeah well....that's about where the thinking ended.

I usually print with the wood blocks by sponging on paint and then stamping them on fabric. Know what paint is? (You probably do, you're all pretty smart.) Yeah, you're right - a resist. One that also apparently works efficiently on wax. I couldn't get the buggers to print good at all.

Which sort of meant I was seriously lacking in objects-for-printing category. (Sort of embarrassing considering I'm usually so prepared.) Luckily, my table mates were incredibly prepared and incredibly generous with sharing their supplies.

Particularly Linda, also known as the chicken-feet-lady.

Here's why:

I think its a masher. I called him cool. He's standing in my wax pot in that shot. His little wire orange feet made awesome prints. Here's one piece I did after he walked all over it and I gave it a wash of paint:

I like it better then the first one. (I stamped some X's in black paint over top. Not sure if that was a brilliant idea or not since the white spots are still wax, haven't ironed them out yet. Only one way to know if it works - pray for my iron.)

After I painted the second piece I realized two things: (1) paint is wet and I didn't feel like hauling wet fabric home and (2) I wasn't feeling the love on the colors. Luckily this occurred to me in the morning and I decided to just print wax on fabric for the remainder of the afternoon. (Plus Linda and Karen were printing machines and I was feeling a little jealous of the incredible piles of fabric they had. I decided to shamelessly copy them. I don't think they minded.)

Linda also brought this guy:

I considered smuggling him home but I made too much of a fuss over how much I coveted him so I figured she would be able to figure out who the thief was. (Plus she was super nice to let me use all her stuff so that would have been impolite.) I fell in love not only with the fact that he had rolly googly eyes that swirled around every time I swung him toward the melting pot but also because his mashing butt end produced some very nice graphic images. I was so smitten by the image that I printed six fat quarters with him. I have an idea for a series. I'll have to find me my very own googly-eyed-potato-masher. Oh, and a chicken feet too. Liked that one a lot.

Lest you think I only mooched off Linda, you would be wrong. June was also kind enough to lend me her deep-frier-thingy (that's its technical name) and I printed this:

Feels a little bit like it has an asian flair to it.

I could go on showing you the rest of the fabric I printed but its all white with wax stamps on it. Picture twelve more just like the one above but with different objects I borrowed. So let me show you some fabric other people did. Here is Linda (aka chicken-feet-lady) merrily covering up the pink in a pink piece of fabric:

Turns out she is not a fan of the devil color either. Yet another reason to like her.

Here is Eunice's fabric (another lovely lady I shared a space with):

She got into painting the wax on wit a brush rather then stamping it. I love the movement in this one, feels windy.

I missed getting a shot of Karen's fabric (the other table mate). Know that it was all brilliant and she conquered her dislike of red.

Another couple shots. Here is Connie's piece, totally love this:

And Kaye's fabric. She wasn't sure she liked it but it was so my colors:

I've got a pile of white fabric full of wax to paint. And then I have to iron all the wax out. I'm not sure that batik is my calling but I'll see the pieces through that I've started. I'm hoping I'll be happy with the end result.

Unfortunately, it will most likely need to wait until after I'm done with the holiday bazaar next weekend. Have quite a bit to do to finish up items for that.

All in all a rather nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. More soon...


tiedyejudy said...

Thanks for sharing your class pictures! If you like the results but don't like the feel after you iron out the wax, try soy wax... it washes out when you launder the piece in hot water! I use it all the time, and really love it.
Have fun!

Gisela Towner said...

That looks like so much fun! I'm hoping to take a class from Rayna next year.
I've been collecting potato mashers (for batik) for a couple of years and I just love that chicken! Got to get one...
I like to make batik stamps with wood and nails too-- very easy and the sky is the limit on patterns you can make.

Rebekah said...

Love your photos!

Leann said...

Excellent!! Wonderful chicken feet, great fabric, what fun.