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Wax resist (batik) textiles have been produced since at least the 4th century BC in China and Egypt. Rozome is a Japanese form of batik which has been practiced there since the 8th century AD.
I began learning batik in 1980 in Placitas and rozome in 1999. The process begins with a drawing on white silk or cotton. Molten beeswax and paraffin are applied to areas which are to remain white. Then dye is brushed and blended into selected areas. Some of this color is "saved" with wax then another layer of dye is applied. I may use up to 20 layers of dye and wax. At the end the piece is steamed to set the dye and the wax is removed.
The piece is archivally mounted and framed under ultraviolet screening glass.
About the Artist
Born in 1945, Dorothy grew up in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Originally an oil painter, she earned an A.B. in Art Studio from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also studied printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
In 1970 Dorothy received her M.A. in Art History from UNM, where she studied lithography, painting, anthropology and Pre-Columbian, African, and Native American Art History, writing her thesis on Navajo Pictorial Weaving. Dorothy then worked under E. Boyd at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe as a research associate in Spanish Colonial Textiles. After ten years with MOIFA, a major exhibition was mounted and several articles by the artist were published in the catalogue, THE SPANISH TEXTILE TRADITION OF NEW MEXICO AND COLORADO.
In 1980, Dorothy learned batik from Australian Jeffery Service, Artist-in-Residence at Placitas Elementary School. With her experience as a painter and a decade of technical involvement with textiles, she discovered a medium which tied everything together.
She has been working professionally in batik ever since, and has exhibited her work in numerous juried shows with awards. Although she began as a portrait painter, most of the batiks are landscapes, dealing with the coming of rain to parched land. A Southwesterner since 1967, Dorothy knows the frustration of desiccating winds, of harsh sun that bleaches the very fabric of life. Rain is always a welcome respite, a renewing force that restores hope and energy.
From her studio in Placitas, New Mexico, she can watch as storms sweep across the Rio Grande Valley, as mists swallow entire mountain ranges, hoping that at home the earth will be blessed with a few drops. Most often, the rain falls as virga, never reaching the ground. Or it can come with such violence that most of it is lost in runoff.
To achieve these atmospheric effects in a medium known for "crackle" (dark lines where the final dyebath penetrated through cracks in the wax resist), Dorothy has had to develop a unique technique which minimizes the cracking and which allows for added control over the flow of the dyes, which are applied with a brush to the wet cotton or silk.
This technique is closely related to the Japanese tradition of rozome, which the artist recently studied with Kyoto artist Betsy Sterling Benjamin.
www.pburch.net/dyeing/dyelinks.shtml is a very informative technical related to dyeing.