Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Art Activity - Batik Resist Cats Inspired By Paul Klee

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

This activity is one that I have been using for a couple of years with my community rec students.  I originally was looking for a larger activity to do with my students when studying Paul Klee.  I felt that the simple lines of his Cat and Bird would work well for Batik.

In case you have never heard of it, Batik is a process that uses a wax-resist dyeing technique on cloth.  Since using hot wax with young kids obviously wasn't going to happen I searched for other options.  I first tried using a wheat flour paste for the batik but found that I didn't get the results I was looking for.  Next I tried using blue gel washable glue which I had seen on several websites.  This worked much better, but a happy accident led me to adopt my current method.  At my community rec site we have a buyer who gets all our supplies.  When I ordered more of the blue gel glue they ended up buying Elmers clear washable school glue instead.  After trying it I found that I preferred it to the blue glue and have used it ever since.  My batik method requires a bit of tracing, since I didn't want pencil marks on the final pieces, but I find if you break it up the kids are fine with it.

Our Inspiration: Paul Klee's Cat and Bird

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

 Step 1:

I give each student a large piece of paper that is slightly larger in size than their fabric.  Students follow step by step to create their drawings of the cat and the bird, I also gave the option of a fish, with a pencil.  I then have them add a patterned background of their choice.  Once they have decided that their drawing is complete, I have them outline it using a dark coloured marker.

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

Step 2:

I tape the piece of fabric over top each student's drawing using masking tape and have them trace their image using a washable marker.  It does not matter what colour they use since once the glue is removed the marker will wash out.

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

Step 3:

The kids get rid of their original drawings, and now tape their fabric to a piece of wax paper.  The fabric squares I use are of a thin material, so the glue and paint will seep through.  Unlike cardboard or paper, which I both foolishly used before, the wax paper will peel right off.


Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

 Step 4:

I give the kids a small paintbrush and a bit of the clear washable glue on a plastic lid or palette.  The kids trace their design.  The glue gives their washable marker a 'wet' look and makes it easy to see where they have applied the clear glue.  When they're finished I have them wash their brushes so they don't harden and then we let the fabric dry.

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

Step 5:

Once the glue has dried, which doesn't take very long, since they applied a thin layer with a paintbrush rather than from a bottle, I have the kids paint their entire fabric using acrylic paint.

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

Step 6:

When the paint is completely dry, soak the fabric in warm (on the hotter side) water for about 5-15 mins depending on the water temperature.  The kids then use their fingers to scrape off any stubborn bits of glue, though generally it comes off easily.  let the fabric dry and your done!

Art Intertwine - Paul Klee Cat and Bird Batik

To see more examples click HERE

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