Thursday, June 26, 2008

Batik workshop with children

June 19th
Now and again I get to do a workshop in this medium with school children, usually as part of the Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery’s educational programme.

I had 34 eleven year olds to introduce to the fun medium of batik for the day. They were split into two groups of 17 and had about 2 hours each.

Our project for the day was to incorporate a design using their own drawing of bugs and fish with using and mixing the primary colours (red, yellow and blue).
Several days of preparation included one day of trying numerous ideas/ways to achieve this project within the 2 hour time limit. I finally hit on what I thought would be a good ‘line of attack’ and on the day was pleased to see it worked well, with the kids seeming to enjoy playing with this medium, which none of them had tried before.

This is the demo piece I used.

First we traced our animal onto the cotton then using tjantings (batik pens for drawing with melted wax) waxed in the outline. Next repeating bands of the primary colours were painted onto the cotton with brushes going vertically over the design. The frames were then tilted to allow the colours to run into each other creating our secondary colours of orange, green and purple.

Then the cotton was dried and more waxing done to create leaf and other shapes in the background and patterns on the animal itself. Then more repeating bands of the primary colours were painted over the design, only this time diagonally. Another quick few tilts of the frames got the colours mixing and blending again. Now we had not only the effect of the first application of colour but also the double effect of putting another lot of colours on top (which affect the colours underneath) and also the effects of blending as the frames are tilted. This gave us lots of random mixings of red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple and also where they all mixed together…. the tertiary colours of browns.

It was quite a full on day, but the kids were lovely and well behaved, making it a good fun experience. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

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