Recently Marc and I tried our hand at batik dyeing to make two silk panels for a large family project to make a quilt for one of Marc’s cousins who is getting married. Congratulations James and Nicola!
The photos here show the two panels being painted with wax and dye in leaf patterns traced from photos of our garden. One panel shows a morning glory vine and the other shows hydrangea leafs. The dyes were special – Marc’s grandfather worked on creating them! We used regular candle wax melted in a double boiler and an acrylic bristle brush for brushing the resist lines onto the silk. The brush is dedicated now, encased in wax as it is, so I look forward to doing some more wax painting and dyeing with the remaining dye.
The pattern was prepared by digitally blowing up the photographs and printing them out at the right size. We set up a temporary light table on the kitchen counter, next to the wax double boiler on the stove, so that the pattern could be traced onto the silk directly with the wax, without tracing with a pencil or the like that might mark the light coloured fabric. Once the wax cooled, we used paintbrushes to apply deep yellow, olive, and dark green dye in a wet on wet watercolour technique to make the colours run into each other.
Once painted, we covered the wet panels with plastic wrap and let the dye set for several hours before giving the silk a good rinse. Then it was boiling in plain water to remove the wax, a dip in cold water, and more boiling in water with detergent to get the remaining dye completely out of the fabric.
The process took all day, from photos of plants to ironing the final pieces, and it was very satisfying. I’ve always wanted to try batik and now I’m hooked. Look for more batik patterns in the future!