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Resists and the Art of the Bargain

It’s been a busy week of selling and buying.

My shop has been buzzing with activity because the lovely Shibori Girl told her students about my itajime supplies.  I’ve been packing envelopes like mad.  Can I just say that I love preparing packages for the mail?  I find it really calming to print out the list, round up the items ordered, figure out the best way to send them, double check everything, and get it all to the post office.  It’s the perfectly zen break from my “real job” of writing a dissertation.

These plexiglass shapes are just one type of resist you can use when dyeing fabric.  A “resist” is anything that keeps the dye out of some part of the fabric.  So, here’s a pair of plexi circles sandwiching some fabric.  You can seen that between the circles, the fabric has resisted the dye. 

You can also use “found” objects.  This week, in search of more resists and in order to entertain the 2-year-old I was babysitting, I went to The Scrap Box.  As the website will tell you, the scrap box contains “a large assortment of unique materials which manufacturers and businesses would otherwise send to landfills: remnants, samples, seconds, and scraps.”

 At the scrap box, you buy things by the bagful.  This is the booty that I picked out:

Less than $5!  I love a bargain.  Some of these will be used as “stamps” for applying paint or wax to fabric.  Others will be used as resists.

In batik, wax is used to resist the dye.  So, sometimes you’ll see people saying they used “wax resists” or you’ll see a wax marked as appropriate “for use as a resist in batik dyeing.”  My wax is currently in UPS’s hands, most recently scanned in Illinois, so I expect it will be here Monday.  Then I’m having some friends over and we will get freaky batiky.

With itajime, removing the resists is as simple as releasing the clamps, but with batik, you boil the wax out of the fabric.  So you need a big ol’ stockpot just for that purpose.  I’ve been looking for stockpots in thrift stores for a while now but I had only found one over 10 quarts and the shop wanted $10 for it and it was a gross color and had no lid (I like lids on pots for speeding up the time it takes to boil water.)

I decided to buy a new stockpot and found this beauty at one of the local Asian food markets.

Not bad for $23.00!  I wish I had taken my camera to the market because in addition to all the groceries and produce, they have a sort of “restaurant supply” section and it includes a wok so big you could bathe a kindergartner in it.   I don’t know why, but seeing that massive wok always brings a smile to my face.  
Also in the restaurant supply section are those big gray bins restaurants use for busing tables.  I’ve petted them a few times, but never bought them because (a) for some reason they don’t have a pricetag on them and (b) I prefer to use white plastic to dye in as it is easier to see what’s going on.  Well, all of a sudden they had WHITE busing bins, so I finally asked the price (just $7-something) and bought a pair.  These will be really useful with I have a lot of clamped bundles to dye!  You can see how much bigger they are than a standard dish pan.  Precious inches!

Anyway, as much as I’m happy to have found the supplies I sought, I’m looking forward to the weekend when I can actually get down to making things.  A few days of shopping can leave me feeling like my hobby is shopping for my hobby.  Which should really be a t-shirt, don’t you think?  “my hobby is shopping for my hobby”   : )   Have a good weekend everyone!

ETA: If you are local, the Asian market I’m talking about is Hua Xing on Washtenaw Ave.

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