Beta Sigma Phi holds first meeting of 2010

On January 5, 2010 the Beta Sigma Phi was held at the home of Shirley Griffin. She gave a program called, “What is Batik,” and demonstrated the technique that she learned from a course taught by internationally known artist, Ehling of Cave Creek, Arizona.

Even though its exact history is uncertain, batik’s projected origin dates back to the first century where it was found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

As fabrics tend to disintegrate from factors such as time and weather, a more exact history can be sketchy. Evidence of early batik has also been discovered in the Middle East, India, Central Asia, and Africa.

The word batik is derived from the Indonesian word “ambatik,” a cloth with small dots. In the seventeenth century, as the world grew smaller, batiking was introduced to various parts of Europe. In the early 1900s, batik fabrics became very fashionable in Germany. Later on, Europeans and Americans traveling and living in the East rediscovered the ancient process and brought it back to their homelands.

Today, many art schools around the United States offer batik courses as part of their curricula.

Basic items used for batik include cotton, silk or linen fabric, dyes hot wax, brushes and tools such as the tjanting and tjap. The former is used for stamping a design on the fabric, the latter for drawing with hot wax.

Since batik is a resist dyeing process, designs on the areas of the fabric which are meant to be protected are covered with hot liquid was. The wax penetrates the fabric. This forms a barrier or “resist.” The first areas to be protected are the whites on the fabric. The entire piece is then immersed in a dye bath, allowed to set, rinsed, and allowed to dry. The waxing and dyeing steps are repeated until the desired effect is achieved. It is important that the dye bath colors go from light to dark. When completed, the wax is removed via ironing between layers of clean newsprint, boiled out or dry cleaned.

This technique can also be used on wood, ceramics and paper.

After Griffin’s demonstrations of Simply Beautiful Watercolors by Kathie George, she served refreshments to Beta Sigma Phi members Gloria Cart, Jean Hanks, Jane Love, Elsie Rowell, Gloria Stutes and Nancy Tislow.

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