I am a textile artist and I primarily utilize the centuries-old fabric dyeing technique of batik, using dyes and wax resist to create wall art, clothing, home décor, and greeting cards. Although I first tried batik many years ago as a teenage art student, I was drawn back to it in 1997 when I found the batik I created back in high school, a patterned skirt, folded away in a corner of the basement. Thinking it would be fun to try it again, I began to batik, and I haven’t stopped since. I love the planning part, which is like solving a puzzle. I love the tactile part of it – feeling the cloth, smooth when it is new, then rough when loaded with layers of wax, smooth and shiny and stiff when I iron off the wax, then silky and supple again when I get the last remaining wax out. I love swooshing the cloth in the dye bath, watching the color develop, and then hanging my batiks up to dry. On a warm spring day, my backyard is enlivened by my colorful clothesline.
Because I enjoy scrapbooking, my playing with paper evolved into making cards, and of course I had to incorporate my batik into that!
I make greeting cards from photos of my batiks, sometimes bits of those photos crafted into a collage. Each card is hand crafted, creatively matted and embellished.
I welcome custom orders. I recently batiked two silk wall hangings for a client's enclosed porch, working closely with her on color and design.
I have exhibited and sold my work throughout the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. My cards are currently for sale at Stoopher and Boots, located on the Upper West Side in New York City. I have a SusanItkinBatik shop on Etsy.
Although mostly self-taught, I studied batik at the New School for Social Research in New York. I minored in Fine Arts at Syracuse University, where I obtained a B.S. in Communications.
Batik is great "therapy" for a former perfectionist like me. Much like the flora that inspires my work, batik is an imperfect perfect art. As no two leaves are alike, no two batiks are alike. Just like the colors on a flower’s petal, the dyes on a piece of fabric blend a little differently each time. My anticipation and delight in each blossoming flower reflects my hope and joy each time I remove the wax from a completed batik. The beautiful imperfections in the batik process have taught me to value the unique and enjoy the unexpected.