Batiks – Textile Design
Batik is a method of dying fabric using hot wax as a resist and dyes. The process begins with a white piece of fabric. The desired design is drawn onto the fabric. It is helpful to know ahead of time the desired colors and where they are to be. Hot beeswax is heated in some sort of cooker, to 250-300 degrees. The wax is applied using brushes and copper receptacles called tjanting tools that have different sized spouts for extreme detail if so desired. The first step is to apply the hot wax everywhere you want to be white. It will make the fabric look darker where the wax is and this can be deceiving, as it looks the opposite of what it really is. This is why planning your piece ahead of time is VERY helpful. After you have finished the white-waxing, the fabric is then dipped into a vat or bucket of the lightest color you are planning to use. That must be dried and then the wax is applied again, everywhere you want the next color, then dyed, dried, and waxing continues until the piece is pretty full of wax and the final color, the darkest, should be used for final outlines, contrast, etc. Wax is then ironed out of the piece using plain newsprint. This will never take out all of the wax. Dry cleaning is an option but can be expensive. Also using a solvent, like Goo-off or Goop-off can be used which is less-expensive. Gasoline also works but I cannot recommend it as it is so volatile. But you get the idea. For cotton wall hangings, which are my favorite, I iron and iron until no more wax comes off. This does leave a bit of wax in the fabric which gives it body and protects it to some degree. Beeswax never spoils or mildews. I have hangings that I did 30 years ago and they still look amazing. Stretching fabric that still has wax on it is tricky as the fabric is almost alive; on warm days the fabric can relax and on cold days, tighten up again. It should be stretched on the frame when warm to avoid this.