Based in Naples FL, Natalie specializes in a type of art form called batik, a rare style of expression dating back to ancient Egypt. Today, batik is most popular in Indonesia, Africa, and Sri Lanka. The word batik means ‘wax writing’ and involves the painting of hot clear wax on silk or cotton fabric to resist the dyes of color in which the fabric is immersed. This is done one color at a time until the piece is finished. The next step is done by crunching the waxed fabric in the hands prior to putting in the next dye color. Guess learned batik in high school in Bloomington, Illinois during a two-week session on the unique art form. Always having an interest in things with fabric and fiber, Guess quickly gained a passion for this technique.
Guess is one of a small number of professional fine art batik artist across the United States and has worked in this medium for more than 32 years. She got her degree in Pottery and Business at Drake University in Des Moines but continued to do batik in her dorm room. Guess has taught numerous classes and created many works of art in clay over the years. Naples residents for the past three decades, Natalie and husband Phil Fisher, a watercolor artist, own the Guess-Fisher Gallery and frame shop in Crayton Cove in Old Naples. Guess’s work can be seen at von Liebig Art Center’s permanent collection and at local businesses including Northern Trust Bank, Lee Memorial Health Park, and the Lely Corporation. Numerous private collections and public galleries elsewhere also contain her batiks.
“I’ve had people tell me it’s not possible to do what I do, but with fast-drying silk, an electric fan, and a Toastmaster hot plate, all I need is an extension cord.”
- Natalie Guess