Preparing work for Expedition Batikback

Steef Crombach, artist and curator, found me via the #atxart hashtag on Instagram. It kind of blows my mind that such an awesome opportunity came about thanks to a hashtag. When she emailed me a proposal to participate in a group batik exhibition, I was skeptical, but excited. So much too good to be true art crap in my inbox. After a few emails and meeting with her and the other artists at a coffee shop, it was clear that Steef knew what she was doing and this was actually happening. 

Steef preparing test canvasses for our first workshop to learn the technique. 

Steef preparing test canvasses for our first workshop to learn the technique. 

Co-Lab generously offered the back area of their current downtown space, DEMOgallery, for us to use as a studio. It has a giant garage door that opens up to the alley at 8th and Brazos, so it's a lively space to work, lots of people passing by, including some bike messenger friends and curious people who come into the studio and ask about the works. 

demogallery
demogalleryalley
Manik rinses off a finished piece in the alley. 

Manik rinses off a finished piece in the alley. 

Melted soy or beeswax (each gives a slightly different effect, the soy less forgiving so dye shows through in the crackles) is applied to stretched cotton fabric with paintbrushes. Hand-mixed dye made from pigment and a chemical water mix is painted on, the wax acting as a resist. The works need to dry overnight, then be rinsed off with the hose, then soaked, then boiled to get the wax out. The boiling process is rough and I had to throw away a lot of my kitchen utensils because they were coated with wax. Weird because usually I'm just so good at doing things and not making a mess, you know. /s

Wax melting

Wax melting

Wax applied to the fabric before dye

Wax applied to the fabric before dye

Chart of pigment colors

Chart of pigment colors

Dyes are labeled so others know what color they are

Dyes are labeled so others know what color they are

Mixing dye test spots

Mixing dye test spots

Working on my first large piece

Working on my first large piece

After drying, before it gets rinsed off in the alley. 

After drying, before it gets rinsed off in the alley. 

I love the colors in my second piece...

I love the colors in my second piece...

DEMOGallery's back space filled with giant pieces drying out

DEMOGallery's back space filled with giant pieces drying out

Expedition Batikback opens August 5th, 2017 at Co-Lab in Austin, Texas. RSVP to the Facebook event. See you there!