Olena Lylak has been batiking since she was three years old. The daughter of post-WWII displaced Ukrainians, Olena grew up in England where she began her lifelong study of batik dyeing.
“It’s an ancient art form,” says Olena, whose love for batik stems from her Ukrainian heritage.
Batik (pronounced BAH-TEEK) is a form of fabric dyeing using hot wax, which is painted onto the fabric strategically to prevent the dye from bleeding. The art form’s first historical appearance may have been in Egypt in the 4th century BC when wax-soaked linen was wrapped around mummies. The Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes, helped facilitate cultural diffusion making it possible for the tradition to reach Korea, China, Japan, and eventually the western world (and Spectrum Creative Arts!).
Olena encourages her students to select designs that inspire them.
For her next project, Molly, a student of Olena’s, will use a variety of brightly colored dyes to depict a cat. She attributes her choice of imagery to her love for rainbows and animals.