Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gyotaku Batik - Try #2!

I finally had a chance to retry some Gyotaku batik. This time, I used cold water dyes and batik wax ( beeswax-paraffin mixture), and am much happier with the results. Like last time, I started by printing some fish on muslin. I then dyed the fabric yellow and waxed over the fish and made some splatters for visual interest. I then put the fabric pieces in either a magenta dye-bath or a turquoise dye bath. The dyes behave much like watercolor, and so colors build on eachother. So, the cloth in the magenta dye-bath came out a rich red, and the cloth in the turquoise dye bath came out a springy green (much greener than I had anticipated, but I like it just the same).
This time I tried boiling out the wax in a water bath instead of ironing, and this did a good job of preventing a hardened halo in the waxed areas. I primarily dyed handkerchief sized squares and sewed of the edges for a finished look. I think they would make nice small tablecloths, napkins, wall hangings, or could even be sewed into pillows. Brian and I are thinking of making napkins and place-mats and selling them in sets. I also made a long table-runner printed with large Tangs:

Most of the prints in this round were done with saltwater fish that were saved for us at a local pet store:


Butterfly fish:
But I also printed a few Bluegill:

I batiked one shirt I had printed previously with small yellow perch. I think the shirt came out pretty funky, and I think our customers will dig them - I know I do. I plan to make more of these in the future.

We also printed and batiked a few baby onesies, although I didn't get any pictures of them before carting them over to the gallery for sale. We've already sold a few after just one week, so they seem like they'll be a hit.

I plan to have some of the finished cloths up on my Etsy site for sale soon. Looking forward to trying more color combinations and making different finished products with the cloths. More ideas for other cool things to make out of fish printed batik cloth are welcome and appreciated!


  1. Gretchen, hello! Amazed, stunned and proud to see something about which I had no idea- you are one hell of an artist. I have read your entire blog from start to finish. Cool. Rather than link to my blog on yours, I'd suggest pasting in the photo of us in the shirts directly into your blog post. Again, bravo! J.L. Alexander in France

  2. Julie - thanks very much for the feedback - much appreciated! And thanks for being a willing fish print t-shirt model and Millstone Artworks ambassador to France!