Saturday, June 27, 2009

How to Build a Picture with Batik
The IQA quilt show in Long Beach California coming soon, and I have been meaning to share with you the process I used to make my quilt, A Few of My Favorite Things. It will be debuting in a special exhibit called "Edges".
First, I will explain that batik is simply putting melted wax on fabric. The wax 'protects' the color of the fabric from successive dyes. With that in mind, I set out to 'paint' this picture with batik. First I lightly drew the picture in pencil. In the first pass, I divided the canvas into mostly light blue for the sky, and pink for the rock. Notice that right in the beginning, I have waxed the sections that will eventually be white in the end, namely, the rope, and the tape on my hands.
 Now that I have the pink and blue sections marked out, I will start adding wax marks to sections that I want to eventually stay light pink and light orange. You can see the wax marks in the photo because of the angle of the light, the wax looks shiny.
Next, I will overdye with darker pinks and oranges, and then repeat the process. Each time I add a new dye color, I will wax part of it to preserve the new color, and then dye again. While working on the section that will become my body, I also use the wax to set off areas, like dams, and dye paint inside the section.
On the next photo you can see many layers of color built up and the last layer of dye the browns and blacks. They only go on a few sections of the quilt, so those areas have been protected with a line of wax drawn precisely around them. After the darker dyes are added, they make the bright colors from underneath really pop with the contrast.
On this close up, you can see the many different colors of hatch marks to make the surface of the rock look like granite crystals. Though probably not noticeable, I also used a layer of bleach discharge to make some marks as well. The colors are further enhanced by using different quilting threads.
 For the final image, the words have been quilted on the sky, but they don't show up very well. I printed the words on freezer paper and ironed the paper strips on the quilt. Then I quilted, right through the paper, and tore the paper off. It made beautiful little letters, but even with white thread on the blue background, hard to see. That's is why in the last step, I added the white ink. I simply colored inside the already quilted lines.
Thought you might like to see the back of the quilt to see the quilting lines.


Jamie Fingal said...

And this beautiful art quilt is in my art studio right now, waiting to be rolled together with 20 other quilts -Oh yeah! We're going to Festival in Long Beach where the 21 Edges will be revealed for the first time. Life is Good.

Beena said...

I love seeing the progression of this in your post. Impressive!

Nina Marie said...

Wow - that's quite a process - I've always wondered how that was done! I love this quilt - not just because of its beauty but also because of its subject matter! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I am so glad I will get to see this one in the cloth! it looks fabulous.

Pamela Price Klebaum said...

Kathy -- I had the pleasure of seeing this quilt in Jamie's studio -- and it is a knockout. Thank you for sharing your process.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing the steps! Awesome!

Nellie's Needles said...

Thank you for sharing your process for this fabulous quilt. It would be great, wonderful, a top-notch treat to actually see your quilt up close and in person.

Claire said...

What a beautiful quilt - it was very interesting seeing the steps in how you made it.
Painting the letters after quilting is a great idea - think I might give that a try.

Sandy said...

I am so glad I came over to see the quilt you posted about going to Houston.
I thought I would catch up on back posts and found this one. When you said the bit about sewing through the ironed on freezer paper, it gave me the answer I need for a work in Progress. It is waiting for me to work out how to do what I need to do for it to look like what is in my head! However, it is cream silk poplin and I don't want to have to try to wash out any marking. I just need to mark out areas I want to FMQ inside of.

Did you have problems getting the freezer paper out from under the stitching?

Sandy in the UK