March 9, 2020

The Huari Batik Process

by Kiss of the Wolf in Creative, Information

Here’s another look into the Kiss of the Wolf Studio. These photographs illustrate the two-day Huari Batik process used to decorate bubble silk for one of our favorite pieces, the Alyssa Top.

First of all, is it Huari or Batik?

Huari Batik is the name of the fabric design. It was inspired by Huari, a Peruvian technique similar to tie-dye. We use the Batik resist dye technique to reproduce it on bubble silk. 

As with all Kiss of the Wolf designs, owner/designer Lori Bacigalupi created the pattern. While the circles may look random, the groupings are carefully planned. Here, Ola is following Lori’s pattern, reproducing the placement of each circle. 

Bubble Silk

One of our favorite fabrics is bubble silk. This puffy, stretchy fabric is warm, light-weight and breathable. Bubble silk is 98% Silk, with 2% Spandex threads woven in to form the bubbles. It looks knitted but is far less bulky.

The Alyssa Top, a “sweater” made of bubble silk, is one of our favorite garments. It is both luxurious and as comfy as an old sweater. It travels like a dream, since it compresses, rolls up to nothing, and readily springs back into shape. It’s also hand-washable.

The Huari Batik Process

Alyssa Top, Huari Batik Bubble Silk, Dove and Slate Black

First, eleven yards of bubble silk is stretched to completely cover two tables. This will make one single Alyssa top. Ola then paints a layer of Dove Gray dye across each table and lets it dry for about two hours. 

The first circles are painted in wax. As a result, these circles will remain pale gray.

Stretched and ready to dye; Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
The first layer, Dove Gray, is painted across the entire length; Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk

After the wax sets, it’s time for another layer of dye. This time, the color is Slate. About an hour and a half later, when the dye is nearly dry, Ola carefully wipes the dye that has beaded up on the wax off.

When the dye is completely dry, she paints the second round of circles with wax, overlapping the first groupings.

The wax is melted in a slow cooker; Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
A layer of Slate dye has been painted on and allowed to dry. Ola is adding more wax circles. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
Ola painting the second round of circles with wax, overlapping the first groupings. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk

She paints the second round of circles with wax, overlapping the first groupings. The entire surface is again painted, this time in Black, and allowed to dry about two hours.

With each application of dye, before it is entirely dry, the puddled dye on the waxed parts must be wiped clean.

The entire surface is again painted, this time in Black. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
The dye beads up on the waxed areas. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
As the silk begins to dry, Ola carefully wipes the puddled dye from the wax. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk

One more hour of drying time before Ola removes the silk from the stretchers. Brown paper is laid out with the silk placed on top across the length of the table.

Each of the two sections is rolled up like a burrito, and both are placed in the steamer for two hours to set the dye and remove excess wax.

When the silk is completely dry, Ola removes it from the stretchers and rolls out clean brown paper. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
The silk is placed on top of the brown paper. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
Rolling the silk up with the paper. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk

This rolling and steaming process must be done a second time, with fresh brown paper. This way, the paper absorbs most of the wax.

NEXT, we send the silk to be dry cleaned, after which we hand wash it. These last two steps remove every trace of wax and surplus dye. 

Rolled with one more layer of paper and fastened with tape. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk;
Placing the package in the steamer for two hours to set the dye. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk
Both pieces of silk are in the steamer. Huari Batik Process for Bubble Silk

What’s Next?

The Huari Batik process is complete. Now it’s time for Kiss of the Wolf master tailors Yan Lan and his wife, Rong Jiao Wang to work their magic. Finally, the eleven yards of bubble silk will become one gorgeous Alyssa Top. 

More Bubble Silk

Last year, Lori created a new garment for this fabric, the Little Jacket Sweater. With the structure of a jacket and the comfort of a sweater, it’s also hand-washable. Another favorite is the Narrow Bubble Silk Skirt. Direct-dyed, it’s the perfect foil for any top.

Little Jacket Sweater, alt view, Huari Bubble Silk
Bubble Silk Narrow Skirt, close-up

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