Tag Archive: Synthrapol


Heading to completion

By now the painting is two-thirds covered with wax and dye, and I have a few more touches to add to it before I remove the wax.  When the detailing is complete, I spend the next hour removing the bulk of the wax from the fabric.  I do this by laying layers of blank newsprint over the image and ironing the wax out, repeatedly changing the paper, until I have a minimal amount of wax left in the fabric.   I then rinse the fabric in Synthrapol to try to remove any excess dye.   At this point, I deliver the piece to my dry cleaner, a friend who has taken care of me for almost 20 years, as most dry cleaners will not touch batik because of the wax residue left behind as a result of the dry cleaning process.  When  I pick up the piece a week later, I take it to an upholstery expert who helps me with finishing the edges and inserting the hanging bars to the top and bottom of the painting.  I then have to photograph the piece for my records.   I have more than 30 hours invested in the work.

Starting the first project

When I looked at the portrait of the Seminole Indians with their friend, I had to visualize how the final result was going to appear, what did I want to achieve with this image, and how was I going to get there? I wanted to create an almost large as life image. First, I decided that I would paint the wax and dye on Rayon. Rayon is a man-made fabric that accepts dying very well and shows color much more brilliantly than cotton, and sometimes, silk. Once this was decided, I thought it would look best as a wall hanging, that could be hung from a rod screwed into the wall. I washed the fabric in Synthrapol, a liquid that removes the sizing from the fabric, and allows the dye to adhere more easily . I then worked on my drawing that I would place on the fabric-I draw a small image that I then have blown up to the size I want on a blueprint copier at a local office service store. The new image is then laid down on my work table in my studio and taped down so that it won’t slide. The fabric that is washed and ironed flat, is then laid over the drawing and traced with a charcoal pencil so that the lines from the drawing show up on the fabric much like a drawing is done for a stained glass window. This process can take several hours, as this image did, due to the complexity of the many patterns in the clothing, and rendering each of the six figures. I try to do the drawing in one sitting so that I have a sense of continuity in my images. Then the fun begins…