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Deyton Elementary’s Batik Week

Deyton Elementary School's Batik Week
On Community Batik Day, Mitchell County students, parents, and teachers gather around as artist-in-residence Leni Newell explains waxing – one of the detailed steps of the batik process.

With a grant provided by the North Carolina Arts Council, in collaboration with Penland School of Crafts, Deyton Elementary School in Spruce Pine recently hosted “Batik Week.”  Every day for one week, artist-in-residence Leni Newell led fourth grade students step-by-step through the process, which involves melted wax and vibrant fabric dyes. Batik art has African and Indonesian roots and completed art can be framed, sewn into a pillow, or quilted.

Art teacher Samantha Hundley was instrumental in choosing Ms. Newell for the residency. “Batik is a great art form because it can be done individually or with a group, and Ms. Newell has an emphasis on teaching students and getting the entire community involved,” she said.

As part of the residency, on September 19th Deyton invited Mitchell County residents to participate in making a community banner that will decorate the halls of the school. Parents, teachers, and students worked side by side to learn the process of Batik.

“I’ve studied Batik art for over 25 years, and I love teaching it because it is an amazingly successful, self-esteem boosting art form,” commented artist Leni Newell. “Anyone can pick up a tool and make a completed piece without previous experience.”

If you are a teacher and are interested in applying to host an artist-in-residence, please contact Penland’s community collaborations manager, Stacey Lane, at 828-765-8060 or staceylane@penland.org. Penland School is excited to explore new ways of supporting art education in the local schools.

– Shannon Moon

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