Soon after I began making batiks, I asked my friends to come up with a name for my little art business. After all the suggestions were collected, I conducted a poll and the winner got a batik (of their chosing) from the next Zephyr show. Elizabeth Lid came up with WovenSunshine Batiks.
I don’t think anyone (including myself) had any idea how important that name would become. In the last 14 years, the name has woven itself into my identity–who I am for myself, my friends, and others. WovenSunshine is and probably always will be an extension of me. I guess she’s the Gemini who lives to work in her studio, making things, consumed by the process, listening to music, and oblivious to the world outside her creative space.
As promised, this blog is about the first batik I ever made. It was for a large window at a rental house at 948 W. Main Street. I used a painter’s drop clothe and rit dye. It was once a rich deep purple but now has faded to a purple grey colour.
At christmas time one year, I sold it to have money for presents. Within a few weeks, I realized my mistake and asked if I could buy it back. It took nearly a year to do so (the person charged me three times the amount I’d originally sold it for. And yes, I learned a valuable lesson). It hangs in my livingroom and it is usually the first thing people notice (that or the fire place). It’s quite large–over 6 feet long and about 4 feet wide. It is a story batik, much like the story quilts women have made for centuries. The border is a friend’s intials (WC, the C is no longer that visible on the outside edge) and my own initials. The interior contains the sun sign and four element symbols, and quirky sketches of things that were significant to me at the time (all randomly situated).
My left hand (a la cave paintings where handprints were used to represent people, rather than likenesses). A guitar in honor of my musician roommates (528 Ragtime bandmates), Chloe and Gypsey (Gypsey was Sheri’s dog; half deer, half kangaroo. Chloe was the labby I got for my 19th birthday. They were the best of pals). My VW bus (1974 green transporter named Jackson). A jug of wine (ah, when we were so poor, underage, and could only afford the jugs). My sister’s balcony at college (Dickinson in PA), a little milk pitcher to represent the Zephyr.
This batik reflects my long standing inclination towards sentimentality and my need to record my life visually (instead of a written form–poetry or prose). Yet, this batik contains only symbols, really, parts and pieces of a much larger (and longer) reality. I love this batik. It will probably forever hang in my home, no matter how faded it becomes. Sheri and I talking again today on the phone. She’s excited that I’ve chosen to return to batiking. I’m excited for it too. She came to see me last summer and I’m so glad that our history is still going… Can’t say the same for the others represented in the batik. Ah, memories, from the corner of my mind… blahblah. It’s a batik, not the greatest story ever told. Okay, off to garden….