Sharing inspirations on Home, Travel and Fashion while solving the mysteries of each. We love to create a new fashion “look” a room redesigned or an itinerary imagined. Home travel and fashion blogger Jonelle Tannahill takes you behind the scenes to meet Innkeepers, fiber artists, fashion stylists and museum curators to give you the latest in lifestyle trends.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Batik in California - Fine Art meets Natural Materials



Theresa Bayaca,  Batik Artist 

Theresa Bayaca grew up on the family farm, surrounded by objects of nature. She spoke last week at the Haute Couture Society meeting in Stockton, California.  Let me start out by saying, she is charming, I really enjoyed her positive energy.  She likes to create one-of-a-kind art clothing and accessories, home décor items, and fine art using natural materials to dye her pieces.



I loved the way Theresa started out her talk “If you can read and write you can batik items”  Theresa has refined her techniques over the years and assures us we can all learn from her mistakes.   Batik is an ancient art form for the last two thousand years as evidenced by batik items found in Asia as well as the pyramids of Egypt.


Batik is still done very much like it was done back then. The process has stood the test of time.  Batik is an rigorous process. Bees wax is the resist and the “tjanting” is the tool or wax pen used to apply the wax onto the fabric. Theresa showed us samples of her dyed fabrics.  My favorite sample was the spiral designs, though it looked complicated, it is simple.  She uses Procian dyes, they are fiber reactive.


Batik is an intensive process. Bees wax is the resist and the “tjanting” is the tool or wax pen used to apply wax onto fabric. A design is drawn on fabric. Then the design is waxed. Next, dye is applied. Unwaxed areas accept the dye; waxed areas resist the dye...and this is when the design emerges. This is the magic of batik.












Batik is still done very much like it was done back then. The process has stood the test of time.  Batik is an rigorous process. Bees wax is the resist and the “tjanting” is the tool or wax pen used to apply the wax onto the fabric. Theresa showed us samples of her dyed fabrics.  My favorite sample was the spiral designs, though it looked complicated, it is simple.  She uses Procian dyes, they are fiber reactive.
Batik is an intensive process. Bees wax is the resist and the “tjanting” is the tool or wax pen used to apply wax onto fabric. A design is drawn on fabric. Then the design is waxed. Next, dye is applied. Unwaxed areas accept the dye; waxed areas resist the dye...and this is when the design emerges. This is the magic of batik.

Theresa shared that dyes are unpredictable. Dyes take to the fabric differently depending on how saturated the fabric is changes how much the dye is spread.


Tips:

  • On dyed fabrics avoid direct sunlight.
  • No bleaching agent necessary.
  • Tools: avoid the large ones if you are a beginner.
  • Dharma trading is a good resource and where I buy the tools. www.dharmatrading.com/Share 
  • Dhrma has ready made clothing for artists to work from, they also have instructions for dyeing fabrics.
  • There are also tutorials that you can watch on YouTube that will help
  • Put cardboard in between shirt from and back to use as barrier when dying
  • She uses Bees wax for Batik.
  • Silk, rayon, and cotton fabrics tend to work best.
  • New dyes are always coming out, explore

“Batik is a meditative thing.” Theresa shared, using natural elements from the environment.  After dyeing all fabrics are washed with a fixative Sodium hydroxide.  “Batik is energy intensive”  it is a lot of work to set up and time to create. It's fascinating to see the changes and designs in the fabric.  In fact, Teresa shared that the more you wax and dye a piece the more it changes.

Safety is a necessary part of the art.  She recommends you wear a mask when using dangerous toxins in dyes, and always wear gloves when mixing dyes.  Lastly good ventilation is necessary or work outdoors.

Theresa talked about drawing the patterns on the fabric with a soft led pencil, or soft charcoal. 
She recommends you practice your craft on paper towel then scrap then cotton fabric and then your expensive silkfabric.
Once your design is drawn on fabric, then the design is waxed. During the process, the wax randomly cracks and forms fine lines or “veins” of dye throughout the design. This veining is the signature of the traditional batik process. After the final waxing and dyeing, all wax is removed. The product is unique and beautiful and well worth the effort. This is how an original batik is created.  Next, dye is applied. Unwaxed areas accept the dye; waxed areas resist the dye...and this is when the design emerges. First wax Is always white. Wax has no pigment to affect fabrics.  Final treatment is to remove the wax.  This is the magic of batik.
Theresa ended our time together with these words of encouragement:  Most important thing, Have Fun!
Theresa is a member of the Stockton Art League, and the Haute Couture Society. Theresa Bayaca, Plant & Fiber Artist’s art work is displayed at the Elsie May Goodwin Gallery on the Miracle Mile.





In addition to the wonderful Batik inspiration members of the Haute Couture Society shared some things they are working on.  Take a peek:

Not your mothers Needlepoint: designed a needlepoint pattern
This member made this wonderful quilt
I loved this bag with French Newspaper (and a red sipper trim)

Beautiful silk scarves made in last months class
Jeans material and a challenge print made a wonderful jacket and jean pants.
This member made this bright fabric kimono styled jacket for the sale next month.
This quilted blanket was made from t shirts, what a treasure!
I loved the way this dress fit and looked!
Terrific top, and the perfect fabric to punctuate the style.
Of course my very favorite part of the day was "sharing" what we are working on with each other.

Next monthly is our annual fashion show./  Let me know if your interested in attending and I'll help you get a ticket.  Jonelle'

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