Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Learning the Ancient African Technique of Batik!

The EK and high-school students explore West-African artform

As our studies of Africa progress, we have been learning about many aspects of the continent: population, climate, elevation, products, peoples, animals, and the many challenges of poverty, lack of healthcare, minimal educational opportunities and poor infrastructure.

Yet, in the midst of all the struggles, peoples of Africa use art and music to express their love of life in inspiring and uplifting ways. Batik is one such textile art, and we have been learning about how it is done, and how the country of Mali is the epicenter of the indigo trade.

Batik is a "wax resist" form of decorating plain textiles. Here we are melting hot wax. We will drip, paint or stamp the hot wax into the fabric. Later when we dye the fabric, the wax will "resist" the dye and therefore create a pattern in the fabric.

We are watching the paraffin wax melt and thinking how to use blocks of foam to make shapes and patterns on the fabric.

This student decided to "paint" the hot wax onto the fabric and created a free-form design.

Using a combination of foam stamping and free-hand drawing to create an effect

Like artists in Mali, this student takes her inspiration from the natural world - leaves and flowers.

Deciding on the size and shape of a foam block. Getting the shape's dimensions is important to the success of the final product.

Having used a foam stamp, this student then takes a candle to add the more classic "dripping" effect known in batik.

Weighing options! With batik - you only get one time to get it right! It's not a forgiving technique!

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