Saturday, February 18, 2012


Yes, some more silk hankies.  I told you I've done a lot of hankies.  They're a lot smaller, cheaper and easier to deal with than scarves.  I could cut a scarf into pieces, but it is nice to not have to deal with the edges raveling.

The one on the left was completely covered with wax then scrunched to get the wax to crackle.  Soy wax doesn't crack as much as paraffin, but it will crack.  I didn't start out to see what it would look like.  But the test  design I was trying to do was rather blobby and unattractive.  So I figured it was a good opportunity to see how it would turn out if I completely coated it on both sides.

The one on the right is to show what color the dye was.  Even though it was in a blue dye bath, the coated one turned out with a lot of purple.  A more extreme example of the color shift of fiber reactive dye on silk.  It is beautiful, but would be an awful lot of wax on one scarf.  I'll try doing some smaller circles on a scarf like this and see how it turns out.  Since the soy wax is degraded by the soda ash used in a dye bath the wax tends to wear off more on a larger item that needs to be stirred more.  But it should still look really interesting.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Another stencil I cut.  This one is a bit smaller and is a stand alone motif of a crane used as a Kamon.

In Japan, Kamon were used in a similar manner as coats of arms.  A person, family, organization or company would use it as their insignia or symbol.

They're less ornate than most coats of arms and don't have so many elements combined into them.  They typically are cohesive and streamlined.  It doesn't combine different branches of the family.  To me, it is more of a stand alone emblem rather than an ancestor reference.  So I find Kamon attractive for batik work.  Some are more bold than others and a lot of them are stylized.

Another sample done on a hankie to see how the design works.  I've got quite a selection of silk hankies that I've done for practice.  I'm taking a class at the Textile Center next month that uses scraps of fabric bonded to card stock and folded into origami boxes.  I figure these would work well for that.  Then I just need to find someone to give little boxes to.  Hmm.  I took a class on making fabric Kazashi flowers earlier this month.  The hankie wouldn't work as well for that since they need more pieces of fabric.  Or at least larger pieces than I can get to fold.  My fingers aren't as agile as they would need to be for that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quality time with my XActo knife

Since my studio is in the basement, and it is still winter in Minnesota, I haven't been working there much.  It is a bit chilly and the batik wax sets up too fast.  Makes it so things don't turn out the way I like.  So I've been doing some work down there, but not a lot.

But I have been cutting some stencils.  We'll see how they work.  The butterfly one is more intricate and with the wax setting up faster it doesn't work as well.  But once it gets a bit warmer, I'll give the full repeat a try.  It is an adaptation of an old Japanese Katagami (stencil) with impressions of grasses blowing in the wind.  So I'm interested to see how it will turn out.  Especially since I spent a lot of time cutting it out.  The overall design is rather large.  This is a 12"x12" hankie.