Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting My Fingers Dirty

11 April 2014

We went over to the Central Market for lunch, and wandered into the annex area beyond the market.  Turns out the batik place is back here, and they have a "paint your own" batik option!

Well, how could I not?

I looked through the stack of pre-drawn and stretched designs - the staff draws in a sort of beige wax so the picture is easy to see, and then we, the tourist artists, sit down and paint in the dye.

I picked out a design I liked, and took it inside.  A lovely young woman set me up at a table, and she gave me instructions - here's the dye, here is a tray to make colours lighter by adding water, here is clean water, always wash your brush before you change colours.  (At that point, I smiled and explained that I had been an art teacher for 25 years, so she realized I knew the basics, and maybe more.  She also laughed when I did my teacherly thing of checking the point of the brush by sticking it in my mouth and drawing it out - not sanitary, but, well, this is what artists do.)

I sat down, Richard outside reading his kindle.  I painted.  I mixed colours.  I mixed more colours.  I painted.  Richard went off for some coffee.  I continued painting.  People came and went, some watching what I was doing, a few staff people telling me it was looking good.

I had SO MUCH FUN!  This is the kind of stuff I love, making art, especially in a new (or new-ish) style and form and place.  
I'm happy with the results.  The young lady took a hairdryer to make sure all the dye was dry, and then took the staples out to remove the fabric from the frame.

I'll carry this around in my luggage, protected in its little plastic envelope, and eventually send it "home."  If and when we settle down, it can be mounted and framed.  It can't be ironed or washed, so I shouldn't sew it into a quilt - but it will be a lovely souvenir of our time in Malaysia.

And truly, it feels SO good to have ink or paint or dye on my fingers again!

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