My three older brothers and I all took tap dance lessons growing up. Based on the photos I’ve seen, they must have been fairly good at it – at the least they looked charming. I remember practicing on the kitchen tile but I finally dropped out. I didn’t have the live performance gene.
Several years later when I turned thirteen, my gift was the choice to take either piano lessons, like my brothers did, or art lessons. I chose art and started studying with Wilma Cymbala. One of the many things she did was the art of Ukrainian Easter egg decoration (pysanky) which like batik, involves a wax resist method of dying. Many of the designs were very similar to applique and geometric quilt designs and the dye colors were rich and intense.
We held a demo at the local library, Wilma showed how she drew the designs and applied the wax to make beautiful intricate designs while I covered eggs with watered down Elmers and torn tissue paper collage. But something about seeing that process – those designs and colors – grabbed me then and still hasn’t let go. I just love batiks.
My thoughts about where I first learned about batiks were inspired by our list of quilting trivia dates for 1955 on the Design Wall in the June/July issue of Quilters Newsletter. Take a look and let me know what inspires you.