Tag Archive: Tjantings


February is always a busy time around Naples.  It is the height of “The Season”, which means every week there are at least three if not more events going on around town.  The third week of February, I had the opening of my show at FGCU; A demo on Third Street in Old Naples during the “Third on Canvas” event, and a Saturday demonstration for the Southwest Florida Craft Guild.  I had started planning for all of this the summer before, so I wasn’t completely overwhelmed, but overall, it was still a lot of work!.  By the time Sunday rolled around, I was spent.  When I had any free time in December and January, I had created images that I wanted to batik on to scarves for a March event: “Have a Seat III”, at the Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art.  These were developed from photographs I had taken the previous summer, edited in Photoshop, and then redrawn with a charcoal pencil on to each scarf.  I also had to pack up a box that contained my demonstration supplies: bees wax, soy wax, Tjantings, bamboo brushes, stretcher bars, silk tacks,and dyes in jars ready to go.  A lot of stuff to haul around (Did I not mention the standing easel and two framed paintings to display while I worked?)  A small crowd gathered around me during the cold non-Florida day when I was working outside in front of Gattles on Third Street.  Many of the people were my fans, or knew of batik, which made me really happy.  The next day, after the dyes had dried, I continued to work on the paintings as a demo for the Southwest Florida Craft Guild, an organization of which I have been a member for over 15 years.

Applying soy wax with Tjanting tool to painting

Muffy Clark Gill showing innitial drawing on fabric for batik painting

Close-up of Wounded Warrior III in progress

When I look at the photograph of these people, I try to visualize what color was their clothing?  What colors were their faces?  This is where I start having fun.  I go back to my collection of photographs I have shot of vintage Seminole Clothing, taken from Museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as hand- colored photographs from old postcards to come up with my ideas of what might have been.  I then start drawing lines on the fabric of hot wax, usually a beeswax/paraffin wax combination.  The beeswax allows the resist to remain on the fabric, while the paraffin makes the wax resist a little more flexible, and causes some of the crackle that most people use to tell if the image is a Batik.  Many times I will try to crack the wax on purpose, because I like the broken, random-like effect of the dye permeating the broken lines of wax.  I paint the wax on  with a natural bamboo or bristle brush, as a synthetic brush will melt from the heat of the wax, which is heated in a small saucepan on a portable burner.  An alternate set of tools that I use are either antique or modern instruments called  Tjantings.  These tools come with a wooden or bamboo handle, with the end finished off with either a brass or copper bowl.   There is  a dripping spout from one end, which allows the hot wax to flow.  The spouts of these tools come in many different widths-some Tjantings even come with two spouts.  I use them for fine line work, as they can allow for a nice consistent line, provided that the wax is at the right temperature. Too hot, and the wax flows all over the place, too cool, and the wax won’t flow out of the spout.    The tool can also drip, and leave random spots on the fabric-which I call those “happy accidents”. Keeping a rag underneath the spout t prevents too many drips, but you never know what might happen.