Batik is an ancient Indonesian art-form of layering melted wax and water based dyes on Indonesian cotton to create vibrant paintings. I have tried to briefly illustrate the stages involved in this complex process below when I did a commission Himalayan Poppies. I have also illustrated it in a time lapse video with another batik at the end of the description.
1. This pencil drawing was one of four initial designs chosen by the client, he asked me to lower the line of the hills and add more butterflies.
2. Melted wax was brushed on to the sky area around the butterflies and flower heads.
3. Pale coloured dyes were painted on, then protected by more hot wax followed by more layers of dye and wax, each time going darker. Some pieces have over 20 applications of wax and dye.
4. To achieve the cracked effect in the sky, the batik was taken off the frame and the hard, waxed area crumpled up and creased using my hands.
5. Dark blue dye was poured over the cracks and worked in with a brush, the batik was turned over and the process repeated again up to 4 times.
6. Finally the batik is dried and the wax melted off with an iron, stretched and ready to frame.
The final result - Himalayan Poppies (now also available as a giclee print!
The 5 minute video below will give you a brief introduction to the batik process. The video is a timelapse with shots taken every few seconds over the course of 20 hours work spread over 4 days.