Saturday, August 24, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Batik

I recently acquired some batik. 

A friend from work was travelling to Indonesia on vacation to visit family and I had the nerve to ask him to purchase some fabric for me while he was there. He brought back three pieces in red, dark blue and green. 

They're gorgeous not just because of the vibrant colors and intricate designs, but because of the skill and time it took to make them. 

If you’re not aware, Batik is a handmade cloth native to southeast Asia. Indonesian Batik was recently designated as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The technique for creating it has been passed down for thousands of years. First the artisan draws the design on the fabric. Then, hot wax is applied to the design. After, follows layers of wax to fill in the negative space of the pattern so that multiple dye colors can be applied to the fabric. 

When it’s finished, the cloth is rinsed in hot water to melt the wax away, revealing a beautiful and delicate pattern. 

Here are a few pictures of one of the pieces that my friend brought back for me, and a video showing the process.

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