I worked on a new batik gi. I don’t know why, but I ended up determined to put an image of Cthulhu on the back. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Cthulhu was created by H.P. Lovecraft, a horror fiction author from back around the turn of the 20th Century.
Click here for images of Cthulhu. And if you’re interested in reading the stories, the entire H.P. Lovecraft library has been published online as it has fallen out of copyright. Call of Cthulhu, for example, can be downloaded here.
It was my first project where I really tried to do something with multiple colors and build the final color of the gi with multiple dye-baths. Overall, it worked out pretty well. I’m going to have to learn to be a bit more patient applying the wax, but that will come.
Batik, I’m learning, is like drawing really fast with a magic marker that bleeds. Or, have you guys seen pictures of classical Chinese calligraphers? I imagine them with large paint brushes wet with ink that they apply to the paper with quick, deft brushstrokes. Well, batik is like that, except that I am just learning to control the brush. But I’m thoroughly hooked.
Below is stage one. A blank canvas, so to speak. The canvas in this case is a generic, Lucky Gi knockoff, A3 (actual fit is somewhere between A2 and A3). The quality is actually REALLY good. The top is a high quality, gold weave material, and the bottom is heavy, canvas. All of it had green, offset stitching and details.
I hand drew a picture of our buddy, Cthulhu, on the back of the gi. I did it big, because he is the ultimate evil, after all.
The next step was to block out only those areas that I wanted to remain white, or that I want to be able to dye bright red. The final result looked like this:
Okay. Next step was the first dye bath: Kelly Green. And the result:
At this point, I had to re-draw my friend Cthulhu and then reapply more wax only where I wanted to keep the bright green, then another trip into the dye bath. This time, Dark Green. The result looked like this:
Okay. Starting to come together. At this point, I removed all of the wax and then applied more wax to those areas I wanted to protect and keep green. At this stage, I’m going to dye it one more time, this time in Oxblood Red. The result will give my gi its final color, while also making the eyes and some other highlights nice and bright red.
Below is what the image looks like with the final application of wax:
And then the finished product. I added my belt so that you can get a sense of the color.
And the front of the gi. The finished product is pretty cool. I didn’t spend as much time agitating the water as I should have. Frankly, after three dye baths, I was getting impatient. But the result looks like an intentionally uneven finish with areas of deep maroon/purple, and some green peeking through. You can see a bit of that in the image below:
Anyone want a one of a kind Cthulhu gi? I’m pretty happy with it, but ultimately, I’m going to have to sell some of these projects to make room for more.
Also, I think I’m going to start creating patches as a less expensive way to explore the batik side of things. Let me know what you think!