Everlasting Batik

How Batik is made

By Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Tex 17 Proc: Printing Block, Batik.LIFE Photo Collection

Timeless Batik

Craftmanship praised and loved by the world, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
But how much do we know about Batik? 

Drie Javaanse vrouwen tekenen batik motieven (ca. 1867 - ca. 1910) by Céphas, KassianRijksmuseum

Batik is an Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth. 

The batik process, represented by the word mbatik etymologically is realized most likely come from the Javanese phrase: amba titik, meaning drawing little dots. Here, the suffix tik could mean little dot, drop, or point, however, it can also denote a ticking sound. 

The wax traditionally used are beeswax, pine tree sap, or buffalo fat. Today, other types of wax used to make batik includes cold wax, a type of wax which doesn't require heat to use. 

As the wax melts, it would be scooped with a drawing tool called 'canting'. 

It requires a crafted skill to use 'canting'. When the wax is too hot, it could melt and ruin the batik. When the wax is too cold, it wouldn't draw on the cloth. 

The wax is used to cover the areas which are to be protected from the dye. The cloth is then dyed, and additional areas are covered with wax before it is immersed in a second color of dye. 

This process is repeated until all of the colors have been added. The making of a fine batik can take as long as six months, and such works are highly sought after.

Tex 17 Proc: Printing Block, Batik.LIFE Photo Collection

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