Sunday, 28 June 2009

Further adventures in batik

So I know all about batik now, having done one small thing. I decided to test out a pattern from the book, and chose a sunflower design for a cotton shopping bag ( from this year's Hay Festival. They kindly left one side blank). A mixture of a cut-open plastic folder and a cornflakes box protected the already decorated side, and I set to. The pattern has lots of wax this / dye that steps. I used the new Procion dyes but didn't bother doing any measuring. No idea if the colours will be permanent. The pattern didn't call for any crumpling of the wax, so I didn't. I expect it said to do that between each step in the intro, but I didn't remember. If you don't crumple the wax you end up being able to see how badly you wield the paint brush or how unimaginative the pattern is rather than being amazed at how interesting batiked fabric can be.

Having done that it was time to start despoiling my clothes. I had tried a ready mixed liquid 'easy batik' on a long skirt, which hadn't really worked, so I put some more wax on the skirt, roughly followed the instructions for mixing the dye, and put the skirt in. I don't use salt in cooking so had to use the dishwasher salt, which comes in large granules. I thought it was smart to mix the dye and salt with hot water to speed up the dissolving of the salt. It wasn't until I was swishing the skirt around in the hot water ( yes, I remembered the gloves) that it occurred to me that dunking a newly waxed skirt in HOT water was a bit dumb. I'll have to wait and see if any of the wax did resist the dye or weather I just made wax and dye soup.
I just knew it. I cant have a dye bath sitting around going off. At least I restricted myself to one tie-dye t-shirt. At least with the temperature being 35degrees C in the shade things are drying fast.

The tie-die shirt is great. The skirt has less contrast than I would have liked. I wore my shoulder out ironing the wax out onto newspaper. I later discovered the very cheap iron I bought to be my craft iron just doesn't get very hot. It wont, for example, get hot enough even on top setting, to transfer a printed image from the paper to the cloth (special paper for computer prints) whereas my proper iron worked fine.

I think with batik the wax removal would probably be the limiting factor. I did some more work on the skirt and then boiled the skirt to see how that worked. It was ok but clearing up was a bit of a pain. Trick is to use the batik wax carefully in a small area and then iron using a hot iron. Don't use it as an all over technique on a large item.

I've since then got the grandchildren to do tie-dye t-shirts which worked very well. I think I'll leave batik for times when I want to concentrate and achieve a really special effect.

No comments:

Post a Comment