About this artwork
In the early 1970’s the sophisticated process of creating designs on fabric by applying coloured dyes, known as batik, was introduced to Ernabella Arts, and three artists travelled to Indonesia to further develop their skills. Ernabella batiks became highly recognisable, valuable and sought after and they are represented in Australia’ s major galleries, museums and private collections.
In the 2020’s Margaret Dagg is the last remaining Ernabella artist still practising this beautiful technique. Margaret utilises a variety of walka (designs) on her scarves, including tjulpun-tjulpunpa (wild or desert flower). Her designs are often based on the many native flowers which grow locally in the Musgrave Ranges. Flowers are important to the women as their arrival indicates abundance, and that various bush foods and medicines will now be available.
Margaret also incorporates the Ernabella walka into her batiks. This is a special design that was first used in the craft room in Ernabella in the 1940’s and it is also known as walka irititja, or the design from a long time ago. Margaret still uses this walka as she says ‘it’s important to keep this going, to remember where it came from’.
This work is decorated using a technique known as ‘lost wax’ or wax resist. Ernabella women have been working with wax resist methods on textiles in their batik works since the 1970s and it is a method that is now also applied to ceramic decoration.
About Margaret Dagg
Ernabella artist Margaret Dagg is nationally celebrated for her work as a Batik artist. Involved in the arts from a young age, she attended school in Ernabella. Through Ernabella Arts, Margaret became adept at a number of different crafts, including spinning wool, rug making, knitting and making moccasins from kangaroo skins with oil designs. The practice of Batik became her favourite path and she is currently the only artist creating Batik works on a regular basis. Her works are exhibited in the Art Gallery of South Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.