We chatted with Wendy Fisher from Batik Workshop about her art and teaching classes in Graceville.
Describe your style in a few words
Traditional Indonesian Batik with my own more modern twist.
What motivated you to try traditional Batik in Thailand?
I actually came across a Thai Batik artist running workshops at the resort I was staying at in 2016. I was so excited by what I had found that I did workshops everyday with him. On returning home, I met up with an exhibiting Indonesian Batik artist and spent some time with her. This year, we returned to Thailand so I could do some advanced Batik workshops. One workshop, I spent 6 hours with an artist at his Batik House in Rawai, Phuket. So you can see, I am absolutely Batik crazy and everyone who does my workshops is too.
What do you love about Batik?
Every main step (and there are 3), is an exciting new adventure. The project is transient, forever changing and growing. This is also one of the main things people love about my workshops.
What are some of your favourite ways of using the dyed material?
It is limitless. I have framed some with bamboo. My first piece ever was a cushion cover on beautiful silk fabric, followed by a shirt. I now offer to my clients, aprons, carry bags, beautiful silk scarves and lots more. But my favourite has to be the butterfly shirt I designed on the island of Koh Yao Noi that they are now using for promotional purposes.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying Batik?
Well, the biggest mistake I think, lots of people make before starting, is thinking that Batik is going to be difficult. Because, the end products are so amazingly beautiful – but, not difficult. Batik caters for all levels of artistic ability.
Tell us about your creative process
Batik begins with a design which you draw onto your chosen fabric with graphite. When done, you re-draw in hot wax using a ‘tjanting’. Once the wax is dry, you then paint your design using cold water dyes. The wax acts as a barrier to the paint. Once dry and set, the fabric is put in boiling water to remove the wax and graphite. Once the wax is removed, a beautiful white outline emerges between the colours, providing detail and clarity.
What inspires your designs?
I would have to say that nature is a big influence on my art. An orange hibiscus flower, my first Batik piece ever, has become my hallmark.
Who or what influences your art?
Because I have a strong background in art, really over my entire life, with 25 years teaching, my influences are quite plethoric. Of course, I am extremely influenced by traditional Batik artists, especially from Thailand and Indonesia.
What’s been your proudest moment?
Probably producing my latest work of Batik art that I mentioned previously. Done in July this year at a Batik artist’s studio in Rawaii I spent 6 hours working on this monstrous hibiscus-themed sarong. It is my largest and most abstract piece yet.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Yes! I have already researched further workshops to undergo in Malaysia next year to gain more experience and learn how to do stamping to create large areas of fabric. And also, I am passionate about expanding my Batik workshops to share this wonderful art form with as many people as possible.
About Batik Workshop
Wendy Fisher runs regular Batik Workshops after learning traditional Batik in Thailand over a period of two years. The classes are suitable for all age groups and no previous experience is necessary. They are held at her home in Graceville which like being at a beautiful tropical retreat. It is easy to get to by public transport, 15 min from the CBD with ample street parking.