ARTS(B)301 Beginning Batik, Kathy Knippel, Summer II 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS(B)301 Beginning Batik, Kathy Knippel, Summer II 2019

This course studies the techniques of wax resist Batik, paste resists, silk painting, and the tied and shaped resist processes of Shibori. The projects gradually increase in complexity and are designed to introduce and instruct the students on how to control the image-making process, by solving various color and design problems through the manipulation of the resists and dye bath sequences. In the immersion dyeing process, one color overlaps and affects the next color. The student is soon aware of certain color limitations in the sequence of gradually dyeing darker. Two systems for overcoming the limitations are introduced in the projects. One by direct dye applications of colors that would be cancelled. The second by saving areas under the wax and removing and replacing the wax perhaps several times during the wax and immersion dyeing process. Silk Painting techniques, the direct application of dyes with resists of outlines, and various textural techniques akin to watercolor will also be explored. Optional techniques of Shibori resist, include, Arashi pole wrapping, pleating, folding, sewing resists, and clamping can also be explored by those finishing the first projects or by more advanced students. Other textile techniques introduced to further embellish at least one of the dyed projects include, quilting, embroidery, beading, applique, or textile sculpture.


There is a studio fee of 120 Euro to cover all dyes, silk paints, wax, resists, dry cleaning, photocopies, ironing out paper, and various small materials. Students will purchase drawing supplies, silk scarves and fabrics, some watercolor brushes, beads, or other embellishments.

Course Projects

Introductory lecture, history and basic techniques with examples

a. Planning of the first design, theme to be announced.
b. Preparing design to full size on paper, and transfer to fabric.
c. Proper stretching of the fabric on the frames for waxing.
d. Use and practice with the Tjanting tool on scrap fabric and paper.
e. Techniques for direct application of dyes on the fabric.
f. Production and completion of the first silk painting.
g. Wax removal.

a. A design in 3 or 4 analogous or related colors.
b. Planning the dyeing sequences from light to dark colors.
c. Transferring of design to fabric, and stretching on the waxing frame.
d. Waxing for the first color, further waxing experimentation for wax effects. Waxing in the negative.
e. Immersion dyeing techniques.
f. Repeat of the steps until all the colors are achieved.
g. Wax removal.

a. Planning of the design, and transfer to fabric.
b. Stretching of the fabric to frame.
c. Waxing and application of the direct dyes.
d. Immersion dyeing for background or other areas. Or options; Salt effect or watercolor effect.
e. Wax removal.

a. The Batik must be planned with 2 or even 3 complete removals of the wax.
b. Requirement, thorough planning of the dyeing sequence.
c. Step one, save under wax all white areas to be in the opposite color group (ex. cool colors).
d. Wax and immersion dye all the related colors in the fìrst group (ex. Warm colors)
e. Remove wax completely.
f. Step two, save under wax, all the colors to be saved from the first color group (ex. warm colors).
g. Wax and immersion dye all the related colors in the second color group (ex. cool colors).
h. Remove wax, finish batik.

a. First a set of samples then a project.
b. Various tying methods.
c. Sewing and stitching.
d. Pleating and folding.
e. Clamp and template resist.
f. Polo wrapping Arashi shibori.
g. Discharge techniques.

a. One of the above projects must be planned as a final project that includes either quilting, trapunto, applique, beading or sewing into a finished item such as a small quilt, wall panel, textile sculpture, cushion, bag, or clothing accessory.

a. To include all techniques and technical procedures for Batik and dyeing.
b. Design proposals and the steps for each project.
c. Personal textile designs.
d. Design resources and inspirations.

Methods of Instruction

1. Lecture.
2. Demonstrations.
3. Individual consultation with instructor.
4. Photos, slide samples, and other visual aids.
5. Student experience and laboratory work.
6. Group and individual evaluations and critiques.
7. Where applicable, field trips to exhibits, museums, and factories.

Methods of Evaluation

1. Instructor evaluation of completed projects.
2. Class discussions.
3. Individual student-teacher discussion and critique of completed projects.
4. Factors considered in evaluations
- Application of design principles
- Creativity in use of materials and techniques
- Craftsmanship in execution of projects
- Student effort and intensity of involvement and participation
- Ability to understand and evaluate Batik and resist dye techniques and creative possibilities.


Your work will be evaluated based on your general progress, discipline, enthusiasm and involvement throughout the semester.

Graduate Students
​Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.


If you miss a class for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to attain any assignments as well as make up all missed in-class studio work. The specific policy for this class is as follows: half a letter grade for each unexcused absence after 1 absence. If you are late to class (after attendance has been taken) three times, it will constitute an absence. If you are excessively late, (30 minutes) it will be counted as an absence. Leaving early or not working throughout class time will constitute an absence.

Text & References

There are no required texts for this course. The studio has numerous books and references available for student use and inspiration. These books and references are for use in the studio only, and are never allowed to be taken out of the studio. The student is asked to respect the books, treat them with care and return them to the library bookcase at the end of class.


Week 1

Monday, July 1
Pick up students at the SACI Gallery 9:00 AM. Show them the best route to the Laboratorio Firenze where the Batik and Dyeing class is held.  The morning hours will be spent in orientation to the class. First an information sheet for the instructor. Then around the table introduction of each student, and their artistic background and school back home. Then going over the course outline together and other handout information sheets for the day. When this is done we will have a tour of the studio and its facilities. Then the teacher will have numerous examples out of the various projects and historical examples as well and go through these items explaining and pointing out techniques and features. This should bring us up to the lunch break time. Lunch break is from 1-2 pm, and everyone must take it at the same time.

After lunch there will be books out of past works by previous classes and a selection of inspirational books to help the students in designing an idea for their first Silk Painting project. The project will be done on a moderate size silk scarf.

There will be a demo on how to use the special waxing tools for making fine lines, and everyone will take turns trying the waxing tool on a large sample fabric set up by the teacher. This practice will help in deciding how detailed the first design can be. The group will work on drawings and designs that could be used for the first project. Theme either from nature or inspired from Florence. The designs will then be drawn up to size on paper to be lightly transferred to the silk. The silk is then stretched properly on stretcher bars to be ready for the waxing work. This may take most of the afternoon, faster persons may start waxing. There will be a small break in the middle of the afternoon to go get a small snack or gelato. The break will be at the same time every day, from 5 to 5:20 PM.

Wednesday, July 3
The entire day will be spent working on this first project. First working on the wax lines that are needed. Then how to use and mix the silk painting colors and apply these in built up wash layers. There will be a large sample fabric set up to practice on for wax and for color testing and trials before applying to their own work. By the end of the day this first project should be mostly finished.

Week 2

Monday, July 8
The first project should be finished up in the morning. Ironing out the wax between papers will be done, so the first project can be taken to dry cleaner for complete wax removal. The second project will be started. This project will be a traditional Batik and will be only dipped in dye baths instead of painting any colors on. Examples shown and explanations of the process, and that it is necessary to work from light to dark and to think and work in negative. The students will use the special wax drawing tool and in addition will work with applying wax resists with brushes using crock pots for the melted wax. Everything is done in layers one color at a time gradually going form light color to dark in a limited color range. This project will be done on a long scarf and so can be designed as a scarf to wear or as long banner or land scape.  Students work on their designs, draw them up to size on paper to then trace them on the silk scarves. Then the scarves are properly stretched on stretcher bars to be able to work on them. These preparations of the second project should take most of the day.

Wednesday, July 10
The entire day will be spent on working on the second project.  The instructor assists with all the actual dyeing of the projects. Only the instructor mixes the dyes used, this for safety reasons, economy and to avoid mistakes.  The dyeing times vary according to the color and intensity. There will be some waiting time for the project to dry in between colors, but this is short in the summer. After drying projects are remounted on frames and further waxed to block out more areas. This is repeated as many times as needed to achieve all the colors.  At least three to five dips for this project.  If all the first projects are back from the dry cleaner a small group critique will be held on first project.

Week 3

Monday, July 15
The entire day will be spent working on the second project. The second project should be mostly finished today. During waiting times for drying. Work can be done to design a third Batik project on a large silk scarf. This third project should also be mostly dipped in dye baths but will be divided into two groups of warm and cool colors do be done separately with a complete wax removal in between the two groups of colors. Some of these colors will overlap each other to get extra colors, a few accent colors will be allowed to be painted on. This project is a complex color problem and must be well thought out as to sequence, planning with instructor is necessary.

Wednesday, July 17
The morning of this day will be spent taking a field trip to Palazzo Pitti to see the Costume Exhibition,or instead to the town of Prato to visit the Textile Museum (to be determined).

In the afternoon around our normal time of 2 pm we will meet in the classroom to work mainly on the third Batik project. Also during the afternoon the teacher will give each student a small piece of raw silk to do a sewn Shibori technique and show some examples and possibilities. This Shibori project and some other exercises will be dyed using natural plant dyes.

This exercise can be worked on out of class as well, as it is hand stitching.

Week 4

Monday, July 22
The entire day will be spent working on the third batik project. During waiting times for drying, work can be done on the samples of sewn Shibori and other Shibori techniques like pole wrapping or pleating and clamping.

Wednesday, July 24
Most of the day will be spent on finishing the third batik project, or on trying the Shibori samples, and finishing up all the works. Approximately the last two hours or so of class will be spent on a group critique of all the projects completed during the summer session. 

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