Monterey Canyon, new 22″ print ready for Christmas

December 2nd, 2011

Any of our  batik images can be ordered as 22″ or 6″ prints, and we still have time to process new orders for giclées that have never been made before Christmas.  We just got an order for Monterey Canyon and were able to scan the 4″ x 5″ postive film transparency (state of the art documentation before digital) to create 22″ tall prints.  Thank you to everyone (especially Tim, color corrector extraordinaire) at Rick Rhodes Photography & Imaging.   We have lots of 22″ and 6″ framed or matted giclées in stock and ready to go for last-minute Christmas orders too.  We have cards, magnets, and other moderately priced items available as well.  Give Mary Edna a call (762-2594) or send an e-mail ([email protected]) if you’d like to stop by the studio.

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CATEGORIES: Art Work, Batiks, News, Process |

Batik in Indonesia

October 11th, 2011

Here is a very interesting video about Indonesian batik from the UNESCO website.  I traveled to Jakarta and Bali in 1996 for the Dutch consulate.  I have an incredible collection of antique batiks on cotton that I bought in a market.

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CATEGORIES: Process, Videos |

Whispering Marsh and Rainy Night

August 22nd, 2011

Architect Glenn Keyes and his wife Cyndy commissioned a diptych batik of kimono silk for the home.  Glenn designed the lovely space. The batik was requested to be rendered in blues, greys, tans, greens, some yellow, red, purple, and copper with no pinks or oranges to accommodate the space. I took lots of photographs of their natural surroundings and was able to perceive the way this landscape would look as if from the air.  The photographs led me in both color way and design. I had full freedom to create beautiful art as the clients trusted me. We were both totally happy with the installation.  I waxed out a moon behind a dense rainfall, inspired by the batik “Rainy Night” that the Keyes saw hanging in my studio.

Rainy Night   

Rainy Night                                          Whispering Marsh

Flying to Amelia Island

August 2nd, 2011

My dear brother Burke brought the family Ercoupe down to Charleston.  On Friday, we flew from Johns Island Airport to Amelia Island (GA) to shoot for a commission.  I took over 1,000 photographs on this flight.  The trip was so exciting and I shot every barrier island on the way.  What made it special was that when I began my career with © Island From the Sky, this was the exact same path we flew in the 70’s.  Now I’m using digital and Burke and I are a well-oiled team.  Chase Cribb, my intern from the Art Institute of Charleston, got a chance to fly too and took these beautiful photographs of me and Burke with the Ercoupe and the view of my home on James Island Creek. 

Waxing and dyeing the full moon with Dana’s Howling

February 1st, 2011

Dana Downs’ The Howling Moon is a favorite at the Fraser studio–always an album that beacons a repeat.  Mary Edna completes the final waxing and dyeing of her moonscape reflected on water while listening to Dana’s unreleased southern folk opera.  We can’t help but sing along as Dana’s sweet somber tone fills us with the kind of joy only found on a stormy day.

A final waxing to make the flowers float

January 27th, 2011

To achieve the feeling of floating on water, Mary Edna needs to capture the ripples created in the movement of water.  Horizontal lines across the work will save streaks of the lighter gray and a darker background will be added during the final dye bath.

Mary Edna carefully holds her natural fiber brush at a precise angle to achieve a desired width and quality of line.  Many of her brushes are so old that she has had to cut the bristles to create a point on them again.

Working steadily with the brush, Mary Edna moves quickly with the hot wax, but slowly enough to control the medium.  She often braces her body, putting all of her focus on a single movement of the brush.

The hot wax must be placed close to the batik in progress, but far enough away to avoid splatters and drips.

Seen from the bottom, the waxed colors are luminous, appearing closer to how they will look on the finished work when the wax is removed.

Mary Edna finishes dyeing this work with a final bath of dark, moonlit water.  The center of the pink flowers are differentiated with a lemon yellow.

The fine detail of this work and its variation of color within a selected palette will be clear once the wax is removed.

Another dye bath

January 25th, 2011

Mary Edna’s studio is built specifically for batik production.  Protective gloves, mask, and a well-ventilated dye room are essential, because when the dyes are still in powder form, they create tiny airborne particles that are carcinogenic.  Mary Edna uses state-of-the-art, fiber-reactive Proceon dyes, which react chemically with the silk to become part of the cloth.  The dyes come in powder form and must be mixed with exact proportions of water, urea, calgon, baking soda, and washing soda.  Any mistake in the chemistry will cause the dyes to bleed, ruining the batik.

Testing on paper towels or scraps of fabric, Mary Edna diligently works out a satisfactory color harmony, often comparing her dyes to colors in nature.  A grid of test colors serves as a record of each layer of dyes used in the batik.

Mary Edna applies the liquid dyes with a brush or sponge.  Details require careful control of a fine tip.

The wet dye appears very dark, almost black, but when it dries, the color will be a bright blue-green.  Another dye bath will be required to achieve the contast seen here.

In general, Mary Edna works from lightest to darkest hues when dyeing a batik.  Here, she applies another layer of green to sections of a leaf.

Large areas require broad strokes worked into the fabric to keep the transitions smooth. Mary Edna works quickly to fill up any area that is continuous with the section she dyes.  If the dye is allowed to dry along an edge that isn’t waxed, strange lines or a mottled background may likely occur.  Mary Edna expertly avoids this effect.

There are still hours of work ahead in order to bring this dye bath to a close.

Waxing floral details

January 24th, 2011

After Mary Edna’s floral batik has dried, she is ready to apply the third layer of wax.  The dried silk shows color as it will appear in the finished piece.  By waxing them in, those hues will be saved.  Darker tones that will be added during the final dyebath will dramatically change the art when complete, giving it depth and detail not yet visible.

Waxing a single, small batik can take all day to finish or even longer, depending on the intricacies of the design.

Not only are the pinks waxed over, but fine details of the chrysanthemums and leaves will be saved too.

A single drop of wax causes a dramatic change in the appearance of the work, although it does not change the color that will appear once the wax is removed.  Because the wax makes color appear darker, Mary Edna holds the memory of the dried colors in her mind as she works.

After waxing in all the pink flowers, Mary Edna flips the batik and works from the backside to make sure all the wax has fully penetrated the fabric.

A little wax is added to a flower from the backside of the art so that no dye can access the fuchsia design.

Mary Edna creates a moonlit edge out of the negative space formed by a flower stem.  Gray tones will be added to mute the yellow-green background in the next step of the process.

Installation of Our Expanding Oceans at University of Georgia’s Circle Gallery, Athens, GA

January 11th, 2011

Wall of batiks on silk at the Circle Gallery

Rene Shoemaker looking at her installation of Mary Edna's art

John Sperry cleaning glass display case in gallery

Natural Inspiration

December 4th, 2009