Teaching batik at Teen Quest

I’m an educator by training, so when I get to merge those skills with my self-taught creative outlets, it’s a bonus. At the start of June, I got an email from Meredith Hofmaier of Teen Quest at Brooks School Summer Programs, asking:

“I’m doing a two-week unit with my campers on textiles and fibers. I was wondering if you would have time to speak at my morning studio block,  anytime from9am-12pm? Ideally, I would love for you to come and talk about your career as an artist, show your work and possibly do a demonstration.”

The result of our conversation was a full day (9:30-3:30) of batik with high school students including lots of time to talk about color, fabric, printing, being an artist, following an interest and getting messy. The space was an old squash court which turned out to be AWESOME: a big room with high ceilings, double sink, 4 high tables, lounging couch area and open space.

I brought a bin of my finished fabric so the students could see what the end result would be:


The students had T-shirts, and fat quarters (18×22″) of fabric to choose from. After quick introductions, the students got to play with the stamps, decide their design and start stamping:

Stamps     Waxing

At the end of the day, when students were asked what their favorite part of the process was, most agreed it was this initial stamping stage. Given a range of options, together they chose to dye colors: spring green, brightest blue and dusty lavender. A dye lot is a 1.5 hour process of mainly mixing fabric on a regular basis. It’s a good task to split among a group of people, since you end up mixing less often. The most exciting part (I think) is when you first put your piece it the dye vat, after that it’s just mixing it up.

Dye  Dye #2

We hung our pieces out to dry and went to lunch:


Our final step was to iron out the wax. The day was HOT and standing over a hot iron only made it feel hotter so energy was waning. Thankfully, the afternoon snack that day was popsicles!

Ironing 1

I had a great time with the students, and promised to make them famous by writing a blog post about them!