The Art of Batik

The Art of Batik

All About the Batik art

What is Batik?

Batik is the art of wax-resistant dye on fabrics to create beautiful and colourful designs. This traditional method of dyeing is followed in countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Indonesian batik, practised in the island of Java, is the best known in the world and boasts of supreme workmanship, quality, techniques, and patterns. The word batik is derived from the Javanese word 'amba' which means write and 'tik' which means a dot.

How is it done?

Batik art can be done with various kinds of dyes and different fabrics like cotton, silk, wool and other natural fabrics.,_Yogyakarta,_1996.jpg  

The process of producing batik is as follows-

  • The cloth is washed to remove starch and beaten with a wooden hammer
  • Some areas of the cloth are marked with pencils in different designs
  • Those areas are covered with hot wax which is made of paraffin or bee wax, using various tools
  • A canting is a pen-like tool used to pour the wax, for larger areas to be filled with wax, a stiff brush or a tool called cap is used
  • The cloth is dyed thereafter
  • The parts on which the wax is poured, retains the original colour while the other parts are dyed
  • The process of tube dyeing and waxing are repeated to create more intricate and interesting designs
  • Various techniques like etching, stencils, discharge dyeing, can be used to create vivid designs in many colours
  • After the final dyeing, the wax is removed. The process at times takes almost a year for the cloth to be ready for use.

Batik Art’s Journey Around The World

Indonesian batik had become a dying art but has again revived in the 21st century. From being a traditional piece of adornment to a fashion statement, it is not only popular in Indonesia but is gaining acceptance worldwide. Batik was introduced to the USA, Europe, and other countries in the west by the Dutch, as Indonesia was a Dutch colony.

The United States of America is the most important client of Indonesian Batik. About 37% of traditional batik textiles are exported to the U.S. Batik exports to the U.S have grown from USD $ 22million in 2010 to a figure of USD $340 million in 2014. South Korea, Japan, Germany, Britain, and Netherlands are also good consumers of batik textiles. Countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Sri Lanka are also producers and exporters of batik fabrics throughout the world.

From being an attire to be worn as traditional ceremonies like birth, wedding and death, Batik prints have come a long way and become icons of chic clothing and fashion statements around the world. Due to its simplistic designs and delicate art forms, batik is loved by all. It can be placed over a piece of canvas to create a masterpiece painting or stitched as curtains, sofa covers or quilts to lighten up the offices or homes.

In October 2009, the UNESCO has acknowledged batik art as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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