Mary Patricia Stumpf
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“It is an attempt to encounter honesty.”
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The complexity of design and ultimate aesthetic success of a piece of work determines the price. Size is not necessarily a determining factor in the cost of Batik. It is more time consuming to create a small, intricate design than a large, broad plane of color in Batik. Because of the difficulty in achieving minute detail (application of melted wax on fabric) and the variables involved with that achievement (temperature of wax, rhythm of motion, steadiness of hand in application, fabric content) the cost of the completed work is based upon the success of the final outcome. A “not to exceed” price may be determined prior to commencement of a commission.
Color is a variable that is difficult to control. Each dye bath succeeds the previous dye bath and the combination and overlay of color is not only a physical exercise but a mental one as well. The artist must have a clear understanding of color. Not only must the dyes be mixed for color statement, but the chemical composition of the mixture must be correct to achieve color fastness. The temperature of water, the concentration of color pigment and the chemical additives must be correct to achieve the desired results for the dye bath.
The mixture of paraffin and bees wax for the wax application must also be of the proper consistency to achieve a desired result. As stated above, the temperature of the wax, rhythm of motion, steadiness of hand in application and the fabric content determine the outcome of a waxing procedure. Mental lapses are not forgiven in Batik.
The above explanation has been given to explain that Batik is a labor-intensive medium. Because of the labor involved, conservation is of utmost importance. Acid-free materials are used to present the work and special precautions are taken to filter ultra-violet light.
One of my strengths as an artist is in composition and design. I was able to obtain a solid background in composition and design at Southern Illinois University under Catherine Milovich and Michael Smith. I received a four-year scholarship to Southern Illinois University. Further instruction was received at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago under Rufino Silva. My strength in composition and design and interest in the spiritual aspects of humanity prepared me for the commission to design the windows for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. For further information concerning this project a color illustrated book has been published entitled “The Windows of St. Michael’s” and may be obtained through St. Michael’s Episcopal Church,1520 Canterbury Road, Raleigh, NC 27608. Another public commission in stained glass is presented at the Inpatient Tower, Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC.