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Fauquier, Batik, Jack Wise & Bill Laux

Bill Laux, (Canadian 1925-2004), Modernist Batik Wall Hanging

“I got involved in batik be­cause I was broke – the great­est motivation in the world,” – Bill Laux

Bill Laux was working as a forester in California, when the U.S. Feder­al government expropriated his property for a park re­serve. That and the Vietnam War were enough to spark Bill and his wife Adele to move to the Great White North. They bought 100 acres outside the tiny town of Fauquier, BC.

Both Bill and Adele had artistic inclinations, which came to the fore when they met Jack and Janie Wise. They were running a batik factory in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, but had relocated to Cedar Springs Farm near Fauquier. The Wise’s left after the initial years, as Jack was becoming a renowned painter on the west coast, known for his holistic miniature mandalas. So Bill and Adelle joined with other art­ists to form Vaki studios – a Tarahumara Mexican Indian word meaning “homestead”.

Batik was very stylish in the 1970’s and artists began to gather at the Laux’s in the summer to learn the art of waxing and dyeing fabric. Bill even travelled around teaching the craft throughout BC and Alberta.

When Vaki studios started booming it supported five full time artists who worked dur­ing the winter and sold on the road two months in the summer. Vaki Studios sold at least 80 batiks a year, mostly in British Columbia, Alberta and along the west coast of the United States.

After Adele’s death in 1975, 

Bill retired from the batik business to concentrate on building his “castle” above Twin Lakes. He worked on his castle without a formal plan, aside from the plan to never finish the eclectic building.

Bill Laux died of lung cancer in 2004. His Castle was still unfinished when he passed.

“I don’t plan, I never have planned, because when I plan something, I always change it.” – Bill Laux

You can read more about Bill Laux and the colourful characters of Fauquier here.
You can bid on the above Modernist batik here.

August 30, 2018


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