Yinka Shonibare’s use of Dutch wax cotton fabric in his “How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Ladies)” 2006 was the inspiration for the background. It was one of my favourite pieces from Art History this year (Thank you Professor S. M.!)
The Dutch colonists first learned about Indonesian Batik in the Dutch East Indies. The process is putting hot wax on cool fabric to transform plain cloth into patterned cloth through a wax-resistant dye technique. Dutch wax fabric became popular in West Africa and became to be associated with the bold print designs you still see common today.
The dye is soaked into the fabric where there is no wax. The wax gets melted off, the process is repeated until the layers of colour and design are desired.
So, I did just the same but got a little lazy (meaning I had no design in mind) and impatient to try this out. I took a medium sized candle, waited about 10 seconds after lighting the wick and just poured whatever candle wax drippings would melt fast enough onto the 22-count Hardanger grey cotton fabric.
The wax looked like a bunch of little ugly blobs and I thought to myself, “uh oh…maybe this isn’t going to turn out like I thought. This will be my ‘test and throw away’ piece then”.
In keeping with the Dutch wax boldness, I vamped up the choice of dye to red RIT and purple Kool-Aid. Here is the list of my steps:
1. Wax drippings (drops of dots)
2. Red RIT dye dip #1
3. Melt wax off
4. Light bleach wash in the centre of the fabric
5. Second round of wax drippings (side-to-side splashes this time)
6. Grape Kool-Aid dip #2
7. Melt wax off
8. Red RIT dye dip #3, just the edges of the fabric
The final product is what you see through no pre-planning just experimentation.
The cross stitch subject is based on Aesop’s fable of “The Fox and Grapes” but is inspired from me not getting into my desired program earlier this year.
Here is short summary of the fable: fox wanted to get some juicy grapes, couldn’t reach them and because he couldn’t reach them, figured they were probably sour anyway.
Since I did not get into the program, I figured that I probably would not have liked it anyway. Maybe I am right, maybe I am wrong.
But I got over my “sour grapes” and am still pursuing my degree because it is still my #1 goal. Why should I give up over one wee minor setback despite my new fuzzy situation? Have you ever felt the same way about an obstruction?
I k-n-o-w that one day after I grow and learn a little more, my reach will extend far enough to grasp my “juicy grapes” and they won’t be sour. :-)