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Claire Rudin (Willis)

I am a batik artist who has long been fascinated with the process of batik and the unique style of Art that it creates. Batik can be used in so many different ways to create a huge range of results from the very intricate to the freer interconnection of overlaid colours, patterns and shape.

I first became interested when doing my teaching degree, specializing in Art and Design. This coincided with a summer spent travelling in Indonesia, the cultural home of batik. In Yogyakarta I visited large workshops working on traditional designs and traditional artists in their studios.

Throughout my career I have combined my teaching and Art. Early on I exhibited at the Knit and Stitch Show and at various Galleries throughout the Channel Islands, while teaching on the beautiful Island of Sark. Subsequently my husband's job took us abroad, spending 12 years living and working in Rwanda, Khartoum, Jerusalem and Ghana. My batik equipment always travelled with us and I always pursued my artwork alongside or incorporated in my 'day job'. During our travelling years I sold and exhibited work and ran adult education courses in batik.

As well as the wonderful work the process allows, for me it represents an artform which crosses cultures, or even draws cultures together. The process is rooted in the Ancient culture of Indonesia and is widely used throughout the Fareast and Africa. I take inspiration from numerous sources, but especially like to use design elements from the countries and places I have lived in and visited, capturing a sense of their culture and ethnicity. A sense of place is very important to me and elements which identify a place or culture feature heavily in my work.
I am now joint Head of Art at King's College School in Cambridge, which allows me the best of both world's, sharing my time between teaching and pursuing my own artistic interests.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my website, I hope you enjoy what you see.

About Batik

Historians place the origin of batik in Egypt and Turkey, subsequently travelling to Persia and later introduced by the Indians to Indonesia.
It is recorded as being a hobby in the family circles of the Sultans as early as 900AD. It is still a pastime of palace residents.
Traditional batik sees influences from India, Arabia and Chinese forms, but Indonesia was the country where a fusion of styles and techniques occurred establishing batik as a highly regarded Art form and industry.
Batik is a wax resist, surface design process. Working on paper cotton or silk, a design or image is created by building layers of hot wax and dye.
Once a design has been planned, hot wax is applied with brushes, sponges or a tjanting, which is a tool with a small brass resevoir and spout through which the hot wax flows and is applied to the fabric. The wax retains the colour of the fabric beneath it, working from the lightest colour to the darkest.
After each application of wax, dye is either painted on or the fabric is dip dyed, different techniques of dye application allow for a diverse range fo possibilities. Once dry further wax is applied, this process is then repeated as many times as the work requires. A simple piece using just 2 or 3 applications of wax and dye or a far more complex one using numerous layers. Finally the wax is removed and the finished piece 'revealed '.
The final subtleties and nuances of each piece are only fully realized at this stage.
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