A Memorable Talk with the Derby Embroidery & Textile Group

I had the pleasure of giving a talk entitled “How I Discovered the Ancient Art of Batik, Batik’s History & Cultural Significance, and Modern Batik Today” to the Derby Embroidery & Textile Group at St. Mary’s Church Hall, near central Derby. The event was a wonderful experience, attended by over 60 members who made me feel incredibly welcome.

It was heartening to find such a thriving textile community in my now home-county of Derbyshire. The event had a lovely community spirit, complete with a raffle with prizes, tea and coffee, homemade cakes, and the promotion of a charity fundraiser for Prostate Cancer (which my own father lived through the challenge of for decades). The dedication of the members, each with their own unique passion for textiles was truly inspiring.

Before I even began, attendees were eager to learn about batik, taking photos of my work and sharing their excitement for my talk. My presentation covered:

  • My Personal Creative Journey: My own history with batik and how I discovered and fell in love with this ancient art form.
  • Historical Insights: The origins of batik in Indonesia, West Africa, and India, along with its history in other cultures.
  • Modern Applications: Contemporary batik around the world and its significance today, with examples of batik from modern day batik artists.
  • Spiritual Aspects: The meditative nature of batik and UNESCO’s recognition of Indonesian batik as one of the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritages of Humanity’ with their annual celebration of National Batik Day.

I showcased some of my recent batik pieces, including those from my Initial Class, Botanical Batik Class, and Mandala Class. I also brought examples of batik design on fabric, surface pattern designs, and even a wooden box with batik patterned veneer which I created using traditional joinery skills.

At the end of my talk, I provided information about the “International Year of Batik” campaign which is supported by the Batik Guild and I directed everyone to our websites, batikinternational.org and batikguild.org. I also shared details about our current Batik Guild exhibition, “Patterns of Change,” in Florida at Naples Botanical Garden, and our upcoming exhibition in Rugby, UK, in July and August 2024.

The audience’s response was overwhelmingly positive. Many members shared their own stories of travels to Indonesia, India, and Africa, showing me photos of the people, textiles and festivals they had encountered. Their tales were deeply inspiring and have fuelled my desire to travel more often.

An unexpected moment occurred when my talk was accidentally broadcasted to the neighbouring church during a multiple Christening! A man rushed in, out of breath, to figure out where the mysterious voice was coming from. Thankfully, we sorted it out quickly, and both events proceeded smoothly.

The event was a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow textile enthusiasts and to share the beauty and history of batik. Many attendees expressed interest in my workshops and so I hope to meet them all again soon, whilst continuing to teach more about this wonderful medium. I look forward to such enriching experiences while I carry on spreading the love for batik!

Botanical & Mandala Workshop in Leek, Staffordshire

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a group of 10 ladies from the Leek & District Guild of Spinners, Weavers & Dyers. This was my first time presenting this new themed class to such a large and established group of textile artists with diverse skill sets, so I accepted the challenge with a mix of excitement and apprehension.

Fortunately, my worries were unfounded. The workshop turned out to be a wonderfully creative, relaxed and productive experience. I set the day rolling with a demonstration of the techniques, explaining the methods and showing how to use the various tools. This hands-on approach allowed everyone to get comfortable with using a tjanting or kistka — many had never tried batik before.

The group was a mix of talented textile aficionados. On one side of the hall, I and several guild members worked away on our batik projects, whilst on the opposite side, others were engrossed in their current spinning, embroidery, and handicraft projects.

The guild only holds a few joint workshops each year, making it a special privilege to be invited to be the facilitator of this event. It was a fantastic team-building exercise, and everyone left feeling proud of their achievements. Leading this workshop was a joy, and I cherish the happy memories we created together.

I look forward to future opportunities to teach and inspire more textile enthusiasts — either as groups or individuals!

New Classes Now Available

Attic Batik is pleased to announce 2 new themed classes to choose from. I have added ‘Botanical Batik’ & ‘Mandala Art’ to the list of options, with more to come later in the year. Both of these classes are a little more challenging than our ‘Initial Class’ which I consider to be a foundation class in batik with a little room for experimentation. These classes are more precise but they are none-the-less suitable for a confident beginner or someone with a little prior experience of batiking. If you have experience of painting and drawing, then I would guess these two new classes might be a good fit for you, particularly if you are quite a detailed artist. That said, my 4 most recent students on this class didn’t consider themselves to be artists at all, and they handled it beautifully. Here are close-up shots of their work:

Batik Talk to Ashbourne Creative Stitchers in Derbyshire

I was honoured to give a talk and a batik demonstration, followed by a hands-on taster session for the members of Ashbourne Creative Stitchers. Initially scheduled for a year earlier, this event was postponed due to the passing of my father. I dedicated this talk to his memory, as he had always been a significant cheerleader in my early creative journey. So, this one was for Dad — I know he would have been proud!

The talk, which lasted about 50 minutes, featured a slideshow showcasing both my artistic journey and the historical and contextual background of batik. My husband, Jamie, provided excellent IT support and filmed the presentation. As a television sound man, this was a busman’s holiday for him!

The group, consisting of around 25 enthusiastic ladies, welcomed me warmly, putting me at ease instantly. Their diverse textile backgrounds added richness to the session, although many had never tried batik before, making it a delightful new experience for them.

After the talk, we shared tea and biscuits, giving everyone a chance to refresh. While some attendees engaged in their own textile projects, I led an interactive batik session for those eager to try. It was inspiring to see participants experiment with the batik tools and techniques. One lady, in particular, created a fantastic spontaneous design featuring snails!

Many thanks to Ashbourne Creative Stitchers for hosting me and for their patience during this challenging time. Your support and enthusiasm made this event truly special.

Belper Arts Trail Event 5/6th May 2019

What an event! This was my first time exhibiting on an arts trail and what a joyous experience it turned out to be. Attic Batik was venue number 5, snuggled up in the middle of the old former White Swan pub on Belper’s Market Place. Our space was shared by artist Karen Logan displaying some fine lino cut prints and by mixed media painter Neil Hunt showcasing his rather lovely local landscapes. Neighbouring businesses RedFox Beauty and Emerald Beauty also loaned space to young and super hardworking animal painter Natasha Lowe and creative landscape photographer Valerie Dalling showing her beautiful painterly looking photos.

This 2 day event was extremely well attended by folks from near and far and it was heartwarming to meet with and share batik with so many lovely people. It was especially pleasing to see and hear the curious expressions of young and old who had never seen this craft before. For plenty of others who could smell the hot wax on their approach up the stairs it brought back nostalgic memories of having tried batik at school or at University. One lady said the smell was highly evocative and reminded her of when she used to work in a ski shop where she waxed skis! It was also a nice surprise to meet fellow batik artists (we are a rare-breed in the UK) and to compare tools, techniques and swap information.

Thank you to every body who came out to visit, peruse and to purchase work and big thanks to the team of organisers at https://www.belperarts.org for all their hard work. I can’t wait to do it all again next year now! 🙂

Making window light catchers
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Now an Airbnb Experience Host

Are you travelling to pretty Derbyshire for a holiday? Or even staying a while in the lovely little shopping and heritage town of Belper? There is so much to do and see around here and you’ll be received with a warm welcome.

Approved by Airbnb

Attic Batik on the Belper Market Place has just been approved as an Airbnb Experience Host. We now offer classes to holiday makers to enhance your visit and for you to come and create lasting special memories as part of your stay in the county.

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Belper Arts Trail Application Accepted

I’m very excited to announce that Attic Batik will be on the Belper Arts Trail this year! The trail runs over the May Bank Holiday (5/6th May) as part of the ever popular annual Belper Arts Festival. The studio will be hosting two further artist/makers and our building ‘The White Swan’ on the Market Place will be open for you to visit and to see what we have on offer. Other businesses in the house will also be providing temporary spaces for artists and their work, so it’s all set to be a hive of creativity. We are just one tiny part of this massive not-to-be-missed event and I am very much looking forward to it. 🙂

More info at: