Saturday, 23 November 2013

Back of a shell batik

Arabian cowrie from the back

Looking back at what I've done so far, I saw again how beautiful the pattern on the back of some of these shells is, so I did a bit of work on that this week.

Of course this is the side that the creatures show to the world in real life so is camouflaged for being under water.

The colours are magical and there's a surprising amount of blue in them. You can't see them properly in this photo. And then there are these parallel lines and spots which are in white, pale blue and cream, and give the shell its very attractive pattern.

I wanted to try to make this pattern using a wax technique, partly because of what I learned about Ghanaian textiles earlier in this project.

I decided to have a go at batik for this.

The first thing was to make a colour palette, and then paint the lines and spots on with candle wax melted over hot water.

Batik using candle wax and
tranparent fabric paints.

I couldn't really see where I was putting the wax. I'm not sure what to do about that - perhaps use coloured wax? But there is then a risk that the colour will run onto the fabric.

Anyway, what I thought after doing this was that
1. The colours were too bright and needed to be browned or greyed down a bit.
2. The batik worked better than I expected, but the lines needed to be closer together to get the parallel lines impression.
3. The edges bled (of course) - so I needed to draw round the image competely to contain the paint.
4. I don't want a direct copy of the pattern, more something that gives a similar impression.
This is the page of my theme book with the final image on it.
I am very pleased with this and want to explore this technique more.

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