Muffy Clark Gill shares her portfolio of exquisite batiks. See more about this talented artist by visiting her website.
I am an award-winning artist from Naples Florida who works on fiber, creating my images in a Japanese style batik wax-resist process called rozome. My love of color, history, and travel, are my sources of inspiration. I have a degree in graphic design from Boston University.
I spent 28 years as a graphic designer/marketing professional for new-media companies before concentrating fulltime on my personal artwork two years ago.
My interest in batik was the result of a childhood visit to Kampala, Uganda with my mother. There we saw an exhibition of decorative batik crafts, an event I not only never forgot but also later developed into an art form of my own.
The batik-dying technique, traceable to ancient India and China, Thailand and Indonesia, has telltale reserve areas on which, after making a sketch with pencil on the silk, I will melt wax on areas of the silk where my design will appear using Indonesian style wax tools and Japanese brushes.
Using bamboo and badger-hair brushes, I then push dye into the scrapes and scratches rather than let it slowly soak into the silk. This intensifies the dye color and disperses it more evenly. The wax is ironed out of the fabric, then steamed to preserve the dye’s brilliant colors and then rinsed to remove any excess dye.
The fabric can then be stretched and framed, or hung on rods. Each batik painting is a singular creation, utilizing the cracks and patterns of the wax to form what I call ”Happy Accidents”.
I am currently working on my “Agua “series of paintings – experiences that I have had while venturing above and under water and trying to expand this body of work.
During the past decade, my work has been focused on Florida’s Native Americans, in particular the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes of Southwest Florida. In researching historical photographs from area museums, archives and private collections, I appropriate images for subject matter that evokes cultural references with humor and irony.
Instead of framing these scenes like paintings, I design some of them to resemble Seminole jackets with outstretched arms (similar to Japanese kimonos). I hang them from rods at the top, accentuating the batiks spread-eagle outlines. They fall unfettered and sometimes flutter slightly with air movements.
The American Museum of Natural History, New York recently granted me permission to recreate images from the book, “Hidden Seminoles: Julian Dimock’s Historic Florida Photographs, 1907-13” by Jerald T. Milanich and Nina J. Root. I am excited by the prospect of applying my batik skills to a wonderful, but relatively unseen, collection that photographer Dimock donated to the museum in 1920.
In the near future, I want to use my recent southwest Florida shows featuring the Seminole Indians as traveling exhibitions to send to museums and galleries nationwide in the hope that they will become part of a permanent collection.