Keith became enthralled with the use of wax and the Indonesian batik copper printing blocks known as ‘tjaps’ at the World Batik Conference held at the Massachusetts College of Art in 2005. There he met Indonesian batik artists Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam from whom he subsequently took a tjap batik class and, in 2014, spent a month honing his technique in their studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. “The cauldron of wax reminds me of the foul smelling concoctions I used to cook up in my past life as an organic chemist.
Since then I have avidly collected tjaps, had some custom made in Indonesia, and have gradually improved my skills in the use of wax, tjaps and dye to create bold, colorful designs.” Keith uses the traditional techniques and tools of Indonesian Batik to create
contemporary and abstract effects with this old technique.
Keith and his wife Merridee (a fiber artist) were originally educated as chemists, and for many years viewed and experienced the world as scientists. Science and art require similar attributes in their view: an appreciation for the wonder of the world, creativity, serious study, and the ability to observe closely. In addition, art requires a passion to take
what one experiences and render it in some personal form. These concepts inspire their individual and collaborative works.
Keith studied design with silk painter Susan Louise Moyer and collaborates with his wife Merridee on works combining tjap batik and silk painting. He enjoys participating in artist residencies sponsored by 360 Xochi Quetzl by the inspirational Lake Chapala in Mexico.
His work may be seen at Art Studios at St. Luke’s in Auburn, California.