Up to Something Crafty

Both Style Court and Katiedid posted on Alan Campbell and his amazing fabrics and the wonderful homes in which they have been used.

David Netto wrote an engaging article for domino this month detailing his relationship with Campbell who served as a sort of ad hoc godfather.

Not all of Campbell’s fabrics were batiks, but some of the most graphic and compelling certainly were.

The grade school I attended in Tulsa was progressive for its day; there was one year when we were all lumped together, a jumble of grades, working at our own pace. I know I read a lot, but likely did very little math.  I did make designs with the metric blocks; those were cool.
Lucky for me our art teacher was amazing. One of the best projects was batiking. Making batik. Mr. Blandings does not like it when people make nouns verbs, especially if the noun is golf, which a game. If you say “golfing” you get a very slow blink. And a sigh.

Anyway, while I was in sixth grade, a mere thirty-one years ago, I remember it being a piece of cake. We did do more of a design than an abstract pattern. I think mine was an elephant. Regardless, it seems like it was some fabric, a little wax, some dye and off you go.

Could be a great summer project. The wax is hot. I know, you got that, but I thought it needed to be said. So, be careful if kids are involved. Which you also got, but just in case. I doubt you could do enough for a sofa before school starts. But maybe a pillow. Or a foot stool.

Well, you could.  And I might.  If I do, I’ll show you, but if I don’t show you please don’t bring it up as it will be one of the dozens of things I have said would be fun to do this summer but didn’t.
All images borrowed without permission from Quadrille.  Fabrics, Alan Campbell, bottom image, The Devil Wears Prada.  If you are interested, google “how to batik.”  Dozens of sites are available to show you how.
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15 thoughts on “Up to Something Crafty

  1. I LOVE your idea for a footstool or pillow! Maybe my niece and I will try that. Wish you still had your elephant 🙂

  2. Courtney – the thing is, I think the whole semester was elephants! I wish I had them as well. You could totally do this.

  3. I actually designed and made some batik fabric and then made a two piece outfit from it for an art project WAY back in my college days. It took me forever to iron out the wax! I haven’t thought of it in years.

  4. As a retired art teacher from the N.C. public schools, I can tell you that the art of batik was every student’s favorite. All grade levels loved doing this. It was so exciting. Hanging the finished projects across a clothes line to dry was eye candy.
    A bit of magic in a day that was very dull for many.
    Great post!

  5. My DIY projects never seem to turn out well… so I just might have to stick with the Alan Campbell!!

  6. I adore batik, having made a batik floorcloth / wall hanging of Llama’s. Hmmm, a coffee table ottoman made with batik fabric might be added to the project list.

  7. I’ve deleted my comment three times because I keep wanting to use the the word “batiking”… and don’t want to offend Mr.Blandings.
    Ahhh, it’s too late to be commenting on blogs.
    Love these fabrics and of course, your stories!

  8. Dianne- I’m not surprised. Even though it was a life time ago, I remember that everyone loved it. And, you know this, but he did hang them to, what? dry? set? with clothes pins on a string tied from one end of the room to the other. Magic.

  9. Erika – you are so nice to even make the effort. Mr. B is always amused by the comments and would never take offense.

  10. Wow! We were forever making ashtrays or bean and clay peace-sign necklaces. And that’s why I became a writer (of sorts.)

    I’d love a bit of batik to patch up a pair of linen drawstring pants at the knee where I managed to wear through them. Maybe a blue and white fish?

  11. E&E – a writer, most definitely. Adore the idea of the batik patch and especially the fish. I attended a party once with a gentleman who would have reminded you of an aging Gatsby; he had patched his favorite khakis with a rarely-worn rep tie. Fabulous.

  12. Thank you Mrs. B., one day I hope to be half as good as you are.

    The gentleman in question sounds brilliant! I like that idea and have a number of retired neckties that would do well as patches. At present they are used for belts. Thanks for a marvelous idea and yet another wonderful anecdote.

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