Amity Farm Batik | AHA! A House for Arts

Amity Farm Batik | AHA! A House for Arts


(guitar strumming) – I love to work with horses. I’ve had, worked with
horses for a long time and they’re one of my main inspirations. They can express strength
and striving, gentleness, and to me they merge with the elements. The wind, the earth, the sky. I’m Carol Conklin, and I have been doing
Batik for over 40 years. Batik is an ancient method
of painting on fabric with wax and dyes. That is said to have
originated in Indonesia but it also has roots in Africa. There’s still beautiful African Batik. India also has a lot of Batik China and Japan have beautiful
Batik from ancient times. Well, I had gone to art school and when I was in art school
I majored in print making. After I graduated, I got to go to Italy to do some more studying of print making. But I found that I loved the country and the best print making studios which require a lot of expensive
equipment are in cities. I used to go to Boston every
week to work on the prints. Then somehow I saw Batik. Of course that was the time, the 70’s when Batik became popular and I wanted to try it. I tried it myself and I loved it. So, I kept doing it on my own with lots of experimenting. And developed my own style with it. Now this is the plain white fabric. It has been washed, I’m removing lint. So, I will get to my canting tool. And this is the little tool
that makes lines of wax. You can see the wax
dripping out very fast. So when I get here I’m going
to have to move very fast I’m going to do one of my
horses with the flowing manes. I like to just get the flow so it’s not an actual image of a horse, but the feeling of the energy of the mane. It’s about ready for it’s first dye. (door opening and closing) (dye sloshing) When the fabric goes into the dyes it hits the edge of the wax and there’s just a certain quality that you can’t get with anything else. And I paint wax on the fabric where I do not want the color to go and this way I’m always
thinking of the negative space. This is a Batik that has, the fabric has been dyed a bit before I applied the wax and I have protected sections of it that I want to keep this color. Now, this Batik went
in to a bleaching batch and this is what it looks like now. Now this one is ready to
go into another color. Here is an example of the Batik after it went into a blue dye bath. So this is like the third step for this Batik. I tend to get quite complicated. It doesn’t need to be as
complicated as I make it. But the design is built up through many stages of wax and dye. At the end it is, the wax
is ironed out of the fabric. It takes several stages
of putting down newsprint and it has to be plain
newsprint next to the fabric. And then when the wax is out
the colors are very vibrant it’s always exciting
to me, that part of it, when it comes like off the press. There’s a magic in the wax itself as the wax goes through the dye baths it crackles a little bit and that imparts a
almost cob-webbing effect which I love. I love that. Most people enjoy it. They find it joyful and they
feel happy when they see it. And that makes me happy. (guitar strumming)

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