"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adire Style Wax Batik

Adire textile is the indigo dyed cloth made in south western Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist dye techniques. In the past they used a cassava paste, but today they use melted candle wax. The dye-resistant starch was either painted freehand or stenciled onto the fabric. When freehand painting, the artist usually paints a grid of squares or rectangles onto the fabric first. Then she fills these squares with geometric and representational motifs.

After the white cloth is covered in various patterns and designs, it is dyed in an indigo dye bath. Originally, indigo was a dye derived from plant leaves, but nowadays most people use synthetic dyes. The cloth then gets put into a vat of boiling water which melts off all the wax, revealing the white design. Adire cloth is used for clothing as well as for export to be made into decorative textiles (throw pillows, tablecloths, etc).

Image Source

Here's an artist adding wax designs to the white cloth.

This project was inspired by the lesson found here:

It's a much simpler (and safer) technique using wax crayon resist.
Grade 7 students first drew out a large grid pattern with wax crayons onto cardstock (any smooth, heavy weight paper would work). 
They needed to press hard (really emphazise this) and could use any light colour. Seriously, if they don't press hard, the wax won't be thick enough to resist the paint in the next step.
White crayon is good, and the most authentic-looking, but it's tricky to see on the paper.

Then they filled in the squares with a variety of patterns.

Here's a finished design.

I pre-mixed up a bottle of 'indigo' coloured tempera paint (watered down a bit) and then the students gently painted it over their design. The wax will resist the paint. If it doesn't, either a) the student didn't press hard enough with the wax crayon or b) you need to water down the paint so it's not too thick.
It's really best to test this project out beforehand so you know how to get the best results with the materials/brands you're using.

Let these dry. 

The next step (next class) involves drawing a stylized African animal on black paper and colouring it in with oil pastels- they can also use lines and patterns to fill it in.

Cut it out and glue it onto the dried background 'adire' paper.

Here are some of the Grade 7 results.
Ta da!


Nancie Kay said...

Very nicely done! love the pattern work...

Kathy said...

Wonderful concepts for the lesson. I like the fact that you put this fiber design together with the animal image. I will be planning to do this lesson for one of my first lessons next school year! Thank you for blogging about your wonderful results.

Chesterbrook Academy Elementary said...

I love the colors and patterns of the background paper. Beautifully done.

Miss said...

Thanks all- yes, it's a very good pattern project. I'd like to try it in the future using real wax and fabric- I've always been too nervous...

Kathy said...

Miss, Hope you are OK with me posting links to some of your photos within my blog. I have written a post of my own to remind me to look up your article as a resource for our batik lessons this fall!

Miss said...

Kathy: no problem- link away!

Handmade Design said...

I just tried this project with my after school kids and it was a success. Thanks so much for sharing!!!! I am sooooooooooooooo happy with the results. I am going to do this in class project now.

Miss said...

Handmade Design- I'm so glad it worked out for you! Put up a link if you post the results; I'd love to see yours!

Gabriela said...

These are awesome, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This has been very thoroughly explained. We tried it yesterday with great results. I was impressed with how the children took to the ideas so easily. Thank you.

Miss said...

Gretchen- I'm so glad the project worked out for you!

Gabriela- thanks for your comment!

Quantum Consciousness said...

So very beautiful. One can tell this group of students were thoughtfully encouraged to be their true creative selves. Thank you to the good teacher they have.

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