Let me explain what it’s like to be me. A couple of months ago I decided to attempt to use up some old craft supplies to, you know, clear some space . I had a few odds and ends of dyes sitting around. The night that I was getting ready for my soap pals to come for the weekend was the night, as some of you will remember, almost exactly 2 months ago that I became compelled (if not possessed) to make tie dye aprons for the crew. I did that and was very happy with the results. It was a spiral pattern, easy to do even though I had not done tie dye in almost 20 years. However, because I had not done tie dye in so long there were some things I had to look up.
While I was looking them up I came upon some dyers doing mandalas and stars that are just fantastic. Keep in mind that a lot of my crafting was done pre-Internet when you had to buy a book, if one existed, and get one person’s opinion and have no one to ask questions. I decided I had to try these mandalas but I had used up most of the old dye. So I put in an order for new dye and a couple dozen flour sack towels to practice on.
While I was waiting on the dye order I remembered the Silhouette Cameo machine Joyce had given me. I had really not been sure what to do with it but it dawned on me that it would allow to to modify my car (as I had started to do a year or two ago) without having to be outside in the weather for most of the work. I started cutting out vinyl quotes and paisleys and flowers. This I had to do in the living room since other people had gotten interested in doing tie dye with me and my workshop – already full of soap and implements of soap making – was now full of flour sack towels, T-Shirts Ken ordered for me, dyes, jars of mixed dyes, squeeze bottles (that I had ordered 3 dozen of). I had barely enough room to make a 20 pound batch of soap before my mandala perfecting search on you tube somehow brought up a video of Victoria from Batikwalla. I was already quite familiar with Victoria. She does the most beautiful batik I have ever seen and it is exactly how I would do batik if I could do batik. I had failed at batik before (more than once) because I could never get all the wax out of the fabric. It was one of the most frustrating things I ever attempted and I think I ended up with two toss pillows (a little waxy) that took an enormous amount of frustration to make. I had been talking to Joyce (the silk painter) about doing batik with soy wax but what I read about the soy wax didn’t thrill me.
Victoria vlogs about life and about her batiks. Although in the videos you can see her working she really doesn’t do a lot of tutorial kinds of things. The video I happened upon was “How to remove beeswax from your batik – Handmade at home”
You gotta be shittin’ me.
Of course, I had everything in my house needed for batik. There was a little beeswax left and although I couldn’t find the old electric skillet (from candle making) in my shed I did have a crock pot that might work for melting the wax. I had paint brushes though I did not have a tjanting tool (a specialized tool used for drawing fine lines in batik that I had never been able to master before). I had plenty to get started.
Within a day it was clear that I would need a better electric melting element (skillet) and a tjanting tool and more beeswax and more paint brushes. I ordered those and made another 20 pound batch of soap before meeting up with Marlene in book group on Wednesday.
Marlene gave me more of her son’s ashes to make jewelry out of because I needed a couple more samples to put on the website that I had wanted to get up last week. I haven’t yet gotten to the samples, the website is not up.
I could barely make another 20 pound batch of soap in my workroom today because every surface is covered with cloth, frying pans, hanging projects half done but I did find that Victoria’s way to remove the wax works (I also found out a lot more about her and about batik watching her videos in my late night wanderings).
Right now my house is trashed, the Silhouette mess is in the living room. The batiks are on the stove. Melted beeswax is all over the counter. I am ready for a panic attack because it is so overwhelming. A soap order I should have had ready Friday is not ready. My workroom cannot be traversed by a full sized human. My car has a sprinkling of paisleys and quotes. People’s dead relatives are in my pocket book. But… THE WAX IS BOILED OUT OF THE BATIK.