Batik on Paper

One day in 1999, I was working for a large solo exhibition of batik works. My studio was, at the time, on the first floor of a large building. My downstairs neighbour was a young man who restored old and antique furniture.
As I was working, he came running up: 'What are you doing…? I am up to my ankles in water!' He was right. When I went down to see for myself what was wrong, the water was running down the walls. It was clear that I could not continue dying and washing my batiks. When we had got rid of at least some of the water, and carried a lot of furniture out of his studio, I sat down to think. My contract with the gallery-owner mentioned a minimum of twenty batiks, and I simple had to come up with a way to meet the contract. I decided that I would work on paper, and that I would try to change the procedure by using a water-soluble agent (sugar) instead of wax, and oil paints instead of the water-soluble dyes.
I ran into a multitude of difficulties. For instance: oil paints do not dry easily. I had to use a hair drier if I was to work at reasonable speed. Also, it turned out to be difficult to make the sugar stick to the oily paints. Naturally, I might have thought of such a logic thing but, somehow, I had not… So by the time I began to apply the second coat of paint, little chips of sugary lines began to chip off. Yet, this gave a very special effect, a bonus really, of creating a certain mysterious atmosphere. These difficulties and the unexpected effects made the challenge even greater. I can hardly tell you how much I enjoyed myself!
I met my contract, and I had found a new way of working into the bargain.

Swallow Holes
Yorkshire Dales

For more pictures of batik on paper, click here.

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