Batiks in progress

January 20th, 2011

Mary Edna is in a period of prolific art production.  Currently she is working on three batiks in her studio for the upcoming Kimono Silks exhibition at 214 King Street in Charleston from May 12 to June 21, 2011, coinciding with Spoleto.

Collected on Mary Edna’s last trip to Australia, this vintage damask silk has a flower motif woven into the fabric. Chrysanthemums, leaves, and stems float over the design.

This is Mary Edna’s first work capturing the realism of flowers on kimono silk.  The full moon enters the work as if reflected in a pool of water.  Chinese sumi brushes ordered from Dharma Trading Company are made from bamboo and natural fibers designed to hold up against the hot wax.  These brushes, along with the fine lines created by the tjanting tool, allow for a variety of markings.

Mary Edna’s studio doubles as a gallery space when it’s not filled up with giant batiks on silk.

Fuchsia flowers on a pale green background will dry much less vibrant for a subtlety of color and antique quality that Mary Edna anticipates.  She pins her work to wooden saw horses so that the silk can be turned easily, keeping the wax from cracking, and making dye and wax application exact.

Using a few shades of green, Mary Edna creates gradients of color to gives leaves depth and turn. Blending the pinks with greys, the background will eventually appear much more like moonlight with only a little green saved for stems and leaves.

Thick wax creates a yellowing effect in the bold flower designs. When removed, the white details will really sing. Until the work is complete, Mary Edna can only imagine the elegance of the finished art.

Inspiration for Color

November 24th, 2009

When working on the Kimono Silks, my reference books provide inspiration for color and design.

Twenty of my local aerial photographs are printed for composition.

Just unrolling the silk is a delight. There are 7 new batiks in 7 different damask designs still in various stages of process for this exhibit. Each silk has intrinsic design which seems to relate perfectly with one of the photographs .

First I sew with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying and throw the silks in the washing machine with a textile product called synthropol. This removes the oils and sizing, as well as prepares the silk for dyeing.

The first waxing is to save the original white or off white of the silk. I use beeswax and paraffin in a 50% combination. The beeswax makes it adhere to the cloth and the paraffin can offer a crackle in the wax which I seldom employ.

The brushes are made especially for hot wax application.

I will keep you updated with the process.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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CATEGORIES: Books, Kimono Silks |


October 28th, 2009

De Grebner in Melbourne

October 26th, 2009

My friend De made my transition from the States to Australia a comfortable landing. One of the best gifts in life are friendships that never get lost and remain solid through the years. We had fun looking for the kimono silks.


September 29th, 2009

Dear Friends,

My dear friend De, her mother Mrs. Grebner, and daughter Autumn and I went in the rain to the Kazari warehouse called Ziguzagu in Melbourne. I rummaged through 5 boxes of vintage white kimono silks each 13.5″ wide. My purchases were two bolts and 3 yards of damask silks.

De’s home is a walled garden of fruit trees, flowers and seedlings she is growing to replant in Australia, often for places burned by devastating fire. (The images above capture just some of her beautiful plantings.)


There is a 14 hours time change from Charleston, so it felt good to let jet lag subside before teaching for the TAFTA Forum, The Australian Forum for Textile Arts, Ltd.

The Geelong Forum is on a campus about an hour and a half from Melbourne on the water where Antarctic winds blow in cold air across Tasmania. The cafeteria looks like Harry Potter could fly in any minute. This is the kind of school that Prince Charles attended. Beautiful grounds are the path to my class of 11  housed in a huge woodworking classroom with lots of tables and high ceilings.

Sunday night was the opening of my exhibition with three other textile artists at the Sinclaire Gallery followed by our 15 minute presentations in the auditorium. There are 350 textile lovers here, the forum is like a magnet for women who love surface design.

I have many good friends from my workshops in 2007 and already arranged a trip to teach in England and also travel to Darwin and fly the northern Australian coast. So exciting to be here. There are folks here who sell to the trade, and I can buy rare vintage Kimonos… One was purchased for my grands and one for MEF! Also, hiding was a bolt of exquisite white damask kimono silk, which I will dye when I get home.

More to come,

Mary Edna