Boreal Batik

Hot Wax and Dyes in the Forest

with Karen Clark

“All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”
- Chuck Close

The Class:

Your mind will shudder with excitement as you immerse yourself in design of unique batiks. The joyful challenges of this artform will stretch your mind like no other medium. Your creative brain gets a workout as you transform art on fabric. The Boreal Forest will be your inspiration, igniting new designs and solutions.

The Details:

Welcome to the Boreal Forest BatikNess Studio which may one day transfer to your home studio.
It will fit in your garage, your kitchen and your backyard lean to. My hope is that students will
leave this course with a solid understanding of the process and the design planning integral to it.
All the equipment needed is easily acquired. Batik can be an alternative media that refreshes
your current arts practice, feeds you creative challenge and wonder.

Students will work with two to three dye baths and a final brush on dye. Wax removal will be
demonstrated. The exciting bit about batik is the journey, the inquiry path that we follow in
pursuing our end product. Students may choose to use their personal icons and symbols, ideas
and references. I will offer my own examples as templates too. Students will look at references
with fresh eyes as they break them down into the crucial shapes needed for dyeing of values and
colours. Portraiture, landscapes, animals, actions, gestures, still life, abstract expression are all
potential subject matter.

As members of this Boreal Forest BatikNess studio, you will work in concert with one another as
dye baths, equipment and clean up are shared. Surprisingly the cooperative efforts will become a
dance in our arts space, feeding you creative challenge and wonder.


No prerequisites.


  • Learn how to plan for batik, apply wax, mix dyes, remove wax and dry projects properly.
  • Set your own personal design inquiries. Ready to go projects are available too.
  • Look critically at reference material with batik design in mind.
  • Learn to recognize necessary shapes and edges.
  • Learn how to preserve the shapes and edges necessary for their expression
  • Determine how the shapes will be dyed sequentially to attain the values required.
  • Use basic colour theory to predict results of layering colour.
  • Learn how to place the wax shapes in relation to one another. This is an important part of
    planning as the fabric can accept dye to create line work on the piece.
  • Experiment with various wax applications using: Tjantings,brushes, and stenciling,
  • Plan and create three projects
  • Huge enjoyment in the company of like minded individuals
FAQs, Schedule and Required Materials listed below.

Date: Thur. July 23rd – Sun. July 26th, 2020

$445 Early Bird; $495 After May 1st

  • Early Bird Course Tuition of $445
  • 21 Hours of Course Time
  • Daily “Boreal Bites”  
  • Morning Yoga
  • An unforgettable experience

Material & Equipment Fee: $20
Some tools, equipment and materials are supplied by forestART and vary from course to course. Details in the FAQ section below.

Meals & Accommodation: Purchased Separately. Available options are on the registration page.M

Contact Us
We are happy to help answer any questions you have about forestART!

Phone: 306 481 4883
Email: nesscreekforestart@gmail.com

Your Instructor : Karen Clark

Karen Clark is a multidisciplinary visual artist, educator and arts advocate. She lives at Schist Lake
in Northern Manitoba. She works out of her studio there and at the Northern Visual Arts Centre
(NorVA) in Flin Flon, MB.

Karen’s fabric work is in Batik. She embellishes batiks with quilting and beadwork. Her ability to
translate shape and edge to the wax and dye medium of batik is compelling. Her solo show hard
kids, traveled throughout Manitoba in 2017-18. The show of 22 batik portraits depicts the stoney
expressions and guarded looks of people trying hard to look hard. Following the portrait series
she has returned to northern landscape as a source of inspiration for her latest batiks. Seeing
shape and edge in the designing of batiks informs her work as a painter and vice versa.

Currently Karen is engaged in an acrylic painting series titled: Kayak Series: Land forever to be
respected. She joyously paints the landscape of the Northern Boreal forest in acrylic and oils.
The series is based on studies painted while kayaking the lakes of her immediate environment.
Karen acknowledges that she is a guest on this land and that there are multiple nations within it.


"I have taken 3 different courses taught by Karen. She is an excellent teacher meeting students where they are at in terms of their knowledge and experience. The classes are well organized and thoughtfully presented. She uses her extensive knowledge of various arts media, technology and teaching techniques to make her classes interesting, relevant and always fun. Her use of group critique sessions as part of her teaching strategy are helpful and respectful to the learner. I highly recommend her as an instructor and look forward to another opportunity to take classes with her. "
Jan Modler
Past Course Participant
"Karen is a wise, thoughtful and enthusiastic educator. She is a dynamic artist who revels in unique design and compositional challenges often inspired by the landscape of northern Manitoba. Karen has extensive experience with a variety of media including paint and batik. Her role as founder of the amazing NorVA Centre in Flin Flon is a testament to her passion for the visual arts, determination to make things happen and outstanding organizational skills. And! She has been a high school art educator for 20 years! 5 I have enjoyed working alongside Karen at many art retreats over the past 15 years and have appreciated her critical eye, her constructive feedback and sincere encouragement. Participants will enjoy Karen’s easy manner, enthusiasm and passion for serious fun!"
Cheryl Zubrack
Past Course Participant


FAQ & More Info

Supplied by you:

  •  pencils, sketch book,
  • rubber gloves, apron, one 24 oz glass jar with lid
  • reference material
  • 4 large plastic garbage bags
  • clothing that is not precious ( dyes are permanent on fabric so wear black!
    unless you like the effect)
  • Optional: beading supplies and embroidery materials

Supplied by Instructor and covered in your Materials/Equipment Fee:

  • 3 pieces of 100% Cotton 60 to 70 cm square
  • dyes, wax, extra fabric, large format paper for planning
  • fabric cutting gear
  • wax pots, wax application brushes and tjantings, dye application tools and wooden stretchers for fabric
  • natural soap, Raycafix, washing tubs, hot plates

No, this is an introductory course.

The fabric you batik can be used to make clothing, hangings, table coverings, quilt tops. In this course you will create at least 2 narrow hangings and one sarong.


  • AM: Arrival
  • 1pm: Group Orientation
  • 2 – 5pm: Instruction Block:
    • Introductions and discussion. Examples and Demonstrations
    • The Design Process
    • First wax and First Dye ( Projects 1 and 2)
  • 5 – 6pm: Palette Cleanse (Social Hour with Boreal Inspired Appetizers)
  • 6 – 7pm: Supper


  • 7am: Yoga
  • 8am: Breakfast
  • 9 – 12pm: Instruction Block
    • Further Examples and Wax application methods
    • Q and A Design Plans Projects 1 and 2
    • Second Wax and Second Dye
  • 12 – 1pm: Lunch
  • 1 – 5pm: Instruction Block
    • Complete Second Wax and Second Dye
    • Examples and Demonstrations for Crumple Dye
    • Design for Project 3
  • 5 – 6pm: Palette Cleanse
  • 7pm onward: Free time


  • 7am: Yoga
  • 8am: Breakfast
  • 9 – 12pm: Instruction Block
    • Q and A Share
    • Plan for next steps for Projects 1 and 2
    • Third Wax and Third Dye Bath for Projects 1 and 2
  • 12 – 1pm: Lunch
  • 1 – 5pm: Instruction Block
    • Complete Third Wax and Dye Bath for Projects 1 and 2
    • Remove Wax from Project 3
  • 5 – 6pm: Palette Cleanse
  • 7pm onward: Free time


  • 7am: Yoga
  • 8am: Breakfast
  • 9 – 12pm: Instruction Block
    • Wax Removal for Projects 1 and 2
    • or Paint on a fourth dye and plan to remove wax at home.
    • Hang up Exhibition of work for Public viewing
    • Final Share
  • 12 – 1pm: Lunch
  • 1pm: Group “Show / Share” & Farewell

Days: 3 full, 1 half.

Instructional Hours: 21 hours

It’s choose your own adventure, with options to suit every budget! You can cook all your own meals, pay for lunches only, or get the full meal deal. You can camp with or without power, bunk in with some fellow artists in shared accommodation, or rent a private cabin. 

Full Details on our Food & Accommodation Options can be found on the main forestART page or when you go to register!

100% Cotton, cotton lawn, Rayon, bamboo, are all topnotch, Egyptian cotton is lovely. The thinner the fabric the better the wax absorbency.

We won’t use any synthetic blends or any fibres such as spandex, nylon, or polyester.

We will use Procion Coldwater dyes from G and S dyes in Toronto. No boiling of dye required.

Sorry, but no, the dye wears off. Do the dishes a couple of times and the dye will come off your hands.

Are you joining us??

 We look forward to seeing you in Boreal Batik with Karen Clark!

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