Kay Shaffer

Portrait of Kay Shaffer

A Story of Emerging Art

As a self-taught artist, I aspired to create completely original, unabashed, true, fine art in the medium of  batik.  Through each phase of my work over the past ten years, I have pursued each step by being open to what the art form was teaching me.  These  lessons were taught by color, resist and fiber.

I began my journey inspired by the  saturation of dyes and the vast expanses of the secondary blending of  tints and hues. I then discovered  the more subtle variegation appreciated in a single organic dye bath as seen in the Stone Sculpture Series of work as the marbling of stone. The colors had their voice.

Using melted wax as a resist or breaking the wax after it hardens in the textile to give the design more expression, as seen in the vertical lines in Spectrum , highlighted that element.  Striving to create true batik where only melted wax is used to paint and relying on brush techniques gave me further individuality and focus.

A dichotomy  existed related to the textile itself which was the idea that filling an area with wax kept it empty and then leaving an area empty caused it to be filled with color.  This principle gave rise to the power of the fibers of the cloth and the understanding that the art is not “on” the cotton, it is intrinsic to the textile.

Finally, it has been  cathartic to immerse each piece in a rolling boil of water and experience the delight of washing everything away, the molecules of wax and dye,  revealing the one-of-a-kind batik.

The evolution from exploration and experimentation to the much deeper challenges of style and purpose have been an exhilarating journey. Each discovery and the entire endeavor of understanding the uniqueness of my art form, speaks to my heart.  It is the emergence of the spirit of batik that has created the fine art.

Artworks by Kay
Image entitled Clownfish
Image entitled Spectrum 1
Spectrum 1
Image entitled Frog on Ginko
Frog on Ginko
Image entitled Demure
Image entitled Angel in Prayer
Angel in Prayer
Image entitled Banner fish
Banner fish
Image entitled Tiger in Bamboo
Tiger in Bamboo
Image entitled Tree Frog
Tree Frog
Image entitled Octopus
Image entitled Toucan I
Toucan I

Photo of Kay Shaffer
Kay is a Batik Guild member
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