Artist Spotlight: Chrystyna Nykorak

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
Chrystyna Nykorak is a Michigan textile designer who creates Batiks using natural fabric, wax and dye.

A weekly feature showcasing local artists

Name: Chrystyna Nykorak.

Aesthetic: Nykorak, a textile designer, creates batiks using natural fabrics, wax and dye.

History: Living with her husband in Uganda decades ago, Nykorak met a Norwegian artist who introduced her to batik. "From then on, she and I never stopped," says Nykorak. Nykorak uses natural fabrics — such as cotton, poplin or muslin, though she now prefers silk because it has the best way of expressing colors — and then a charcoal stick to draw out specific designs. She then waxes specific areas to maintain that color and dips the fabric in dye. It's a multi-step process of waxing certain areas and then using different dyes. She eventually steams the silk or irons out the wax to remove it "like an Easter egg," very similar to Ukrainian Easter eggs, or pysanka, said Nykorak.

The latest: Her solo show, "Batik Designs and Creations," is on display at the Ukrainian American Archives & Museum of Detroit's gallery space in downtown Hamtramck through June 29. Her designs are inspired by her imagination, nature, flowers or what she sees. One design was inspired by the floor of a former church converted into a museum in Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine. It ties together a unique floor design, ancestral spirits and the church itself. "I was inspired by being in that museum," said Nykorak, who previously lived in Farmington but now lives in Metamora.

Maureen Feighan