I was an artist before I became an engineer.
This was possible because of the brilliant art centre set up at Sahyadri School where I had the opportunity to explore several artistic cultures and techniques. In my 2nd year of this exploration, I found myself very inspired by Asian art revolving around the Buddha. Having worked on a batik piece, creating ‘Mohini’, I decided at the time to create a Buddha image not with a paint brush and paints, but with a batik spindle, wax and dye-colours.
Batik is a traditional Javanese technique in which selected areas of cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. We start with the lightest colors working toward the darkest colors waxing the front and back and the front again for each new dye color used. When we are finished with this process, we put the fabric in boiling water and melt the wax off. This is the time the wax ‘cracks’ and gives the charactersitic batik effect to the cloth.
The challenge here was that I wanted to sketch the outline of the buddha directly with the hot wax canting. After a month of studying, sketching and getting familiar with the lines and figures of Thai Buddha, I began work on this piece. Another month of careful waxing, dyeing and boiling later:
The flowing lines of the Buddha’s garb and to create shades using dyeing in the garb as well as the lotus flower petals was challenging but also great fun.