Colleen Swenson, Batik Artist
About the Batik Artist and the process
Watercolor was my introduction to the art world. When wintering in Florida, I took a watercolor class. The craft room was full of beautiful silk pieces. “Could I do this?” That began my journey with Batik Art.
My instructor was Shalini Tandon. She is from India and I learned the art of Batik from one of the best. Since then I have continued to work on my own, feeling my way around the field of Batik Art. I enjoy every minute spent in my home studio. My greatest pleasure is making something that someone will enjoy.
Batik is an ancient, time consuming process. It is a form of art applying wax resist dye techniques in fabric. I use only quality, pure silk. The fabric is stretched on a wooden frame. The design is delicately hand drawn using a “jainting”, a small copper container with a wooden handle through which the wax flows. Once the wax hardens, the silk is painted with quality dyes. The wax painted areas resist the dye and stay white. The process can be repeated to add additional layers of color and wax-resisting areas.
Once the painting is completed, the dyes need to be steam-fixed to become colorfast. This process makes the colors brighter and more intense. The colors in Batik are much more resistant to wear than those of painted or printed fabrics because the cloth is completely immersed in dye and the areas not protected by resist are allowed to absorb hues to the extent that the colors will not easily fade. Wearable art should be hand washed in cool water with a splash of conditioner, ironed damp and the color will not come out. Do not wash wall art as the color will stay for a long time.
My wall art can be used as framed pictures, mounted on a dowel, or mounted between glass for window decorations.
My silk scarves are used as neckwear, headwear, belts, hat or purse ties, and my golf scarves adorn golf bags and hats. Other uses are individual scarves as table runners and banners.
Silk is my fabric of choice. Each piece is one-of-a-kind. If you see an item you would like in a different color or design while you’re viewing the show at the Good Shepherd Community, contact me. If you are inspired by something you see that gives you an idea for something special for you, I would be happy to work with you. This is something I never dreamed I could do and enjoy every minute spent in my home studio.
My pieces are displayed in several Minnesota boutiques and a boutique in Arizona. I have been featured at the St. Cloud, Minnesota Art Crawl and have done several commission projects.
10% of all sales donated to Huntington Disease Research.