Batik is a traditional Javanese fabric dying technique that uses wax to create intricate, multi-color designs. The origin of batik in Indonesia can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century. Jogjakarta is renowned for its production of batik in traditional colors of brown, white, and indigo. So, of course being the crafty person I am, I wanted to visit a batik shop and learn the art while in Jogja.
Using wax to repel the dye from the fabric, the patterns must first be conceptualized on the white silk or silk blend fabric using pencil. At the batik shop, they provide you with three options: stencils, metal stamps, or create your own design. I opted to combine a stencil and the convenience of the metal stamp. That decision also allowed me to interact with two different production areas in the shop.
The pattern I chose for my design included native flowers (stencils) and stamps of male and female wayang kulit (shadow puppet) characters with a traditional border pattern. After tracing my patterns for the flowers, I gave my best attempt at applying the wax to the design, dipping the wax applicator tool in the liquid wax, then carefully tracing the pencil lines with the tip.
Well, after my best attempt resulted in three huge drips of wax, I made a plea to the experts to help me. While we could have erased my drips later before dyeing, applying hot water to remove the wax, the artist decided to make them a part of the pattern - my drips will forever be "dotted insects."
|Tracing the wax on the penciled pattern|
|Wayang stamps completed|
|Pressing the wax border|
|Washing the fabric|
|First dyeing process|
|Examining the results of the first dye|
|Boiling off the wax|
To create the finished product, the fabric is simply air dried then ironed. And here is the end result of my Indonesian batiking efforts in Jogja!
|Pressing the dry fabric|
|My first attempt at traditional Indonesian batik|