While studying Painting and Design at Carnegie Tech in the early 60’s, I briefly learned Batik in a summer workshop. It totally fascinated me, and became my art form of choice while I was moving around the country with my husband. In a small segment of time, I could wax and dye large or small pieces of cotton for hangings and banners, and then leave them until I got another small segment of time to myself, ideal while raising small children.

Moving to Albuquerque in 1975, the concept of “Clothing as Art” was beginning: so, having always sewn, I started batiking vests and yokes of dresses, sometimes quilting and beading them. I also made an occasional batiked quilt; wining Best of Show in an NM Designer Craftman Exhibet in the late 70’s with my Giraffes are a High For Me Quilt. When Folkwear patterns came out, I started creating more elaborate batiked clothing, showing at Fairs and at Mariposa Gallery, and had a batiked dress in the Folkwear traveling show.

By 1982, when I bought into Village Wools, I was tired of the monochromatic colors of the Batik process, and was experimenting with the new French dyes for silk that had just come to this country. Victoria Rabinowe, an owner of the Santa Fe Weaving Center, sponsored a workshop in her studio with the Tinfix Dye Company, and by the end of the weekend, I was hooked. I invested in a steamer, and started using Tinfix dyes myself, and carrying them and other silk painting supplies in the shop. I set up a steaming service there, and taught Silk Painting at Village Wools regularly for the next 10 years. I also taught first Batik and then Silk Painting each summer at Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico.

c. Judith Roderick

Tree of Life Quilt

I loved the brilliant colors possible with these dyes, and my own work took off. I rented a large warehouse studio and set up many tables and sawhorses and painted silk for clothing on a grand scale!  I utilized my drawing skills and the rubbery gutta to create elaborate, elegant, one-of-a-kind coats, jackets, scarves, and garments of all types, which I showed at local and then National Shows and Fairs, at Mariposa, Origins, and then at many Galleries across the country. I started out doing the sewing myself, and at one point had 3 seamstresses sewing for me. I painted costumes for the Civic Light Opera for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat, and was featured in New Mexico Magazine. It was an exciting time for Wearable Art in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Silk Painting was a wonderful, versatile medium of expression.

Eventually, my interests changed, the Wearable Art Scene waned, many galleries closed, and I completed with the silk-painted clothing business. I thought I was done with silk painting many times, but each time that I have became excited about a new concept or found a new interest, I would think, “Oh, I could paint THAT on silk!”   I still have all of the equipment, I have truly mastered the Art of Silk Painting, and so I have continued to do just that. I still love the way the colors blend and glow, the surprises of the salt, the luminosity of the finished pieces. Silk Painting has been my main form of creative expression now for 28 years. The silks have truly been a delight to produce, teach, wear, and surround myself with throughout the years.


Judith formerly taught at Village Wools, Ghost Ranch, and from her Studios. Now she teaches at her home in Placitas, one or two students at a time; basic gutta and dye techniques &/or soy wax techniques. By appointment.