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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Artist will share message of her medium - batik

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Pictured is Pat Stumpf's "Brugge," a batik on cotton made in 2001.
SIKESTON -- A little fabric, some dye and wax have come a long way for batik artist Mary Patricia "Pat" Stumpf.

The Puxico native, who resides in Raleigh, N.C., will visit the area and teach residents about the batik technique in a workshop Nov. 1-2 in Charleston. Also, in November, Stumpf's batik work will be featured at the Sikeston Depot.

"It's a very, very unusual collection," said Janice Matthews, board member of the Sikeston Cultural Development Corporation. "She's done several pieces of the landscape of the area. It's just really spectacular. I can't even describe in words what it looks like."

Batik is a method of making images on unbleached and untreated fabric by coating parts of the fabric with wax to resist dye. Dye is applied and wax is added or removed to form layers of colors.

"They look like paintings, but they're on fabric," said Ann Schuchart of Bootheel Regional Art Guild, who is also registered for Stumpf's workshop. "I'm really looking forward to it. We still have room for more people."

Straying away from the traditional batik art of "happy accidents," Stumpf has developed her own batik style through the years -- a style she likes to call "mixed media" rather than "batik."

"You're unlimited as to what you can do with batik," Stumpf said. "I'm still learning new ways to portray it." Stumpf discovered batik through her first basic studio class at Southern Illinois University in 1962 at Edwardsville. "I just fell in love with it," Stumpf recalled. "I knew it was my medium. I was looking for a medium that I could combine other art techniques with, and batik was it."

At the time, batik wasn't accepted as a fine art; it was considered a craft, she said. Her batiks were rejected in competitions and it was a long, progressive movement before batik was defined as a fine art -- a process Stumpf was persistent in aiding. She compared its evolution to photography's journey of being accepted as art.

Today batik is definitely accepted as art. Stumpf has won numerous awards and honors including grants, had an exhibit in Kobe, Japan, and taken part in an International Conference on Batik in Gent, Belgium.

In order to do batik, artists must have a complete understanding of the color process, Stumpf noted. For example, as they apply layers of wax, they must know that blue on yellow will make green, red on green will make dark brown and blue and red will make purple, she explained.

"Sometimes technicalities turn artists off. But the truth is, after everything is learned, it's easy. It's like cooking. Once the chemical and technical sides are learned, you can focus on the creative process -- the art," Stumpf said.

Workshop attendees don't need prior art experience, Stumpf insisted. After this workshop is over, attendees should be able to know what batik is and what they're talking about, she said.

"This workshop is for anyone. Painters can try it, and sculptors can use it. It's up to the artist. It's what they want to get out of it -- that's the focus," Stumpf said. Stumpf's work includes a Mingo Swamp batik series, some of which will be featured at the Sikeston Depot. Stumpf's grandfather owned 600 acres of the Mingo Swamp before it became the wildlife refuge that it is today, she said.

"I went back there with my cousins and they took me through the refuge. With the Mingo Swamp pieces, it's like I'm reclaiming the land for my grandfather. It's like I can go back and see the beauty of it through my batiks," Stumpf explained.

As well as several pieces of Stumpf's Mingo Swamp series, other pieces of her work -- a total of 40 batik pieces - will be on display at the Sikeston Depot.

Matthews said the batik technique is something new for the Sikeston Depot's art gallery and something the region should take advantage of in November.

The Bootheel Regional Art Guild is sponsoring Stumpf's workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 1-2 at the Assembly of God Church in Charleston. Cost of the class is $50. To register or for more information, call Schuchart at 471-8677.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sikeston Depot. Those wanting to view or purchase Stumpf's work can visit the Sikeston Depot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays or Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., or call 481-9967 for more information.