I don’t often get ‘serious’, but just this once, since we’re talking about batik, I’m going to take the time to answer a question that people ask me all the time. “How do you feel about all the people who are doing your batik technique?”

We’re going to finish up our batik that we started on last week’s blog, today. This particular piece happens to be the very first batik I ever did. That was 28 years ago. Do you know anyone who’s been doing this technique longer than that? I doubt it. Way back then I had just become a mom for the first time and was sitting in my studio staring at the wall – wondering how I could make the fabric batik I was doing at the time, safer. I could no longer use all of the dyes and chemicals with a baby girl around.

It was that particular thought that became the inspiration for this technique. I tried the rice paper sitting against the wall in my studio and regular watercolor in place of the dyes I currently used. And THIS is that very first batik I did that day, way back in 1986. Yep, the one we’re doing together now.

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So, to answer the question, “How do you feel about all the people who are doing your technique”, the answer is simple. It’s a matter of common courtesy, actually…..treating me as you, yourself, would want to be treated.

When someone is courteous and respectful, I have no problem at all with them using my technique and even my designs. I won’t spell out my copyright here, but it is fully explained on www.KathieGeorge.com and I am happy to answer any questions at all. I am very generous with my designs, even allowing them to be entered into shows providing you simply make note that it is my design. It’s a matter of mutual respect between the two of us. I share everything I’ve learned in the work I’ve done for the past 28 years with you, and you respectfully do not claim the technique as your own, but just admit you learned it from me, or perhaps someone who learned it from me. Sigh. Seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it?

Yet, here are just a couple of situations that I think would be difficult for the offender to live with:

  • Making prints/cards and giclees of my designs and selling them through a national online gallery without a mention that the design was ‘borrowed’.
  • Dropping by in the midst of a class to say ‘hello’ to the teacher (who has been a long-time friend), hanging around just to learn the technique so they could teach it, claiming it as their own.
  • Attending a class and befriending the teacher. Then promptly making a DVD of the technique without a mention of where she learned it.

But, for every bad story there is a good one. Thank heavens, because there have been times I’ve felt like a salmon swimming upstream and thought of giving up batik entirely and moving on.

But people look out for me. They write to let me know of potential copyright violations and of those they worry are taking advantage. They have my back.

For the most part, I don’t say anything about the violations. I know who those people are and what they are doing.

They say that life is too short to worry about these things, and I agree. I’m not saying it was easy to learn to ignore – after all, it’s how I make my living! But after much thought and worry, I decided that I must get on with it.

So, let’s get on with it! Let’s finish this batik today. Before we do, thanks guys for asking the question and letting me get that off my chest. Onward and upward we go. We have too many new adventures ahead of us…let’s get started with our first one.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?

I believe that after last week’s lesson we were about to do the final steps to our Iris Batik? At this point you should have worked through all four waxing diagrams. Then I also asked you to coat the entire front of the piece with one more coat of wax, just to be sure that every little bit has been covered.

When it has cooled, peel the rice paper from the waxed paper, then gently crinkle it into a ball. Small cracks may form in the wax….or not. It doesn’t really matter because we are about to make our own texture.

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Flatten the paper, being careful not to brush or shake off loose pieces of wax, then apply one final wash of color over the piece, using your favorite color from the palette. Some of the wash may go through the cracks, but most will simply bead up. It is these beads that make the texture you see in my pieces. Without waiting for the beads of color to dry, apply one more coat of wax right over them and sealing them into the wax. The size of the little beads determines how big of a blotch you’ll see on the finished piece. So, if this is your first time, go lightly! It can be quite a shock to see a bunch of splotches of color on your finished piece. Soon, though, you may find that you love that look!

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TAKE IT OFF

Lay out several sheets of newspaper and place your batik on top. Layer THREE additional sheets on top making a sort of “batik sandwich”. Use a very hot iron (cotton or linen setting) to press firmly down onto the pile. The heat will melt the wax and the newspaper will soak it up. When it’s fairly saturated, you’ll see it begin to seep through the top layer and that’s when you know to change the newspapers. Repeat this process, usually about 4 or so times, until all the wax has been removed. (Don’t worry about the ink of the newspaper transferring to your batik. It won’t happen. Today’s printing is very permanent).

FINISHING TOUCHES

Did you wax an unintended place – like a drip in the middle of a sky making a white moon? Fear not, all is not lost! Two things work well for adding color to any areas that might need it. First, try painting it. Painting on rice paper after wax has been removed will feel completely different. A tiny bit of wax remains on the surface, so you’ll have to coax the paint into the paper by wiggling your brush. Once you get past that waxy surface, it will flow right in and stay right where you place it. For small touches of opaque color, or when outlining is needed, pastel pencils are fun and easy http://www.kathiegeorge.com/shop/cretacolor-pastel-pencils-24-piece-set/. Finally, because the rice paper is semi-transparent you should mount the batik on a piece of white or off-white matboard using double-sided or linen tape.

That’s it! You’ve completed your very first batik! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. PLEASE ASK YOUR QUESTIONS VIA THE COMMENT BOX (BELOW) rather than through the website because it would be great if everyone could learn from your question.

DSCN7988-2In the meantime, don’t forget to register for our SPAIN GIVEAWAY! There are fourteen days left to enter! Come with us to our workshop in Spain next May.

When everything is said and done, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people on this earth. This very moment, when I paused to think of what to write next, my mind was flooded with thoughts of the many, many wonderful people I know across the country, and the world, actually. YOU may have just crossed my mind.

Thanks so much for reading. Now go out there and have a wonderful life!
Kathie xo

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