Like many of the women who inspire us here at Sikara, artist Melissa Knight comes from an international background and her life has been shaped by her love of travel. Melissa is originally from Brisbane, Australia, but came to Austin in 1997 after spending a year in San Francisco as well as traveling through Central America. She is an artist who works with a process called batik which is traditionally used for making designs on fabric using wax to prevent the dye from penetrating the cloth. Melissa uses this process, which originally comes from Indonesia, to create her own whimsical collage designs. “I have found that I prefer this style of design to the more traditional batik design. I have always enjoyed the surprises of batik – the crackles and the layers of colors that emerge in the wax-dye process.” Melissa’s long-term goal she says is to illustrate children’s books and she is currently working on a children’s songbook project called Blue. This weekend she has an exhibition open to the public on Saturday, June 1st. information and details below. Sikara asked Melissa a couple of questions about her life as an artist:
Sikara: What inspires your work?
Melissa: I am often inspired by my surroundings or the time of year. I am always inspired by my mother-in-law’s gorgeous garden and I make a lot of flowers and hummingbirds. I live in Austin and also spend time during the summer in Vermont. A couple of years ago I spent part of the winter in Vermont and I found myself making a snow series. Here in Austin, I am often inspired to make bluebonnets in the spring and cardinals nesting! For my summer show I have made a summer series inspired by summer in Austin. I love Barton Springs and it feels magical to me, jumping into the cool fresh water when it’s 100 degrees out!
Sikara: Did you have any formal artistic training?
Melissa: No, I didn’t have any formal artistic training. In my early 20s I was looking for an effective way to display a poem at a group art show. Someone suggested batik. I wasn’t even sure I knew what batik was. But, I used the batik technique and wrote my poem on a large banner and dyed the fabric purple. Once I discovered the wonderful world of color with dyeing and batik I was hooked!
Sikara: What’s your favorite part of the process?
Melissa: While the process of dying/waxing the fabric is slow and methodical, I always enjoy the surprises and colors in the fabric at the end of the process; it is well worth the many hours involved! The surprises and happy accidents often guide the artistic process for me. It’s always fun for me to envision making a piece and then seeing the finished piece as I imagined it.
Melissa Knight, Summer Art Show & Sale
Saturday, June 1st, 5 – 9 PM
1907 Forestglade Dr, Austin, 78745
Hosted by Pachamama Birth Service
GB Khalsa – Midwife
For more info: 512-318-1847