When I was a sophomore in high school, my art teacher allowed us to do an art discipline of our choosing for a semester. I had already done quite a few acrylic paintings and wanted to do something different. A friend of mine suggested batik, since she had already learned how and would be happy to show me.
So we both invested in some Rit dye, lots of paraffin, newspapers (to absorb excess paraffin), some old cotton sheets, and a batik instrument for the finer details – and we were off.
We had loads of fun and made quite a few batiks. Only one of mine survived all kinds of moves and life changes, and here it is (borrowed from my Dad to photograph). I’m surprised how the greens are still pretty vivid after over 30 years. The sky used to be a bit more blue, the reds in the flowers have faded to the lightest pink (I had used beet juice), and the brown in the tree trunk (some natural dye there also) are just hints.
Since we were interested in more natural dyes, we experimented with lots of them at the time. I can remember a pot of paraffin constantly on the stove during evenings and weekends; and ironing out layers of wax from the cloth into newspaper. It was a lot of work, but it was also a very satisfying technique and provided lots of surprises between each dye bath.
We got high marks for our semester, thankfully!