About Batik

Batik or batique is an Indonesian word and refers to a generic wax-resist dyeing technique used on fabric. The word originates from Malay word for dot or point, "titik" and the Javanese word "amba", meaning to write;.

The island of Java in Indonesia is famous for its batik.

Procedure to make a Batik:

Melted wax is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Sometimes several colors are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps.

Thin wax lines are made with a tjanting (canting) needle, wooden handled tool with a tiny metal cup with a tiny spout, out of which the wax seeps. Other methods of applying the wax onto the fabric include pouring the liquid wax, painting the wax on with a brush, and applying the hot wax to precarved wooden or metal wire block and stamping the fabric.

Batik painting

After the last dyeing, the fabric is hung up to dry. Then it is dipped in a solvent to dissolve the wax, or ironed between paper towels or newspapers to absorb the wax and reveal the deep rich colors and the fine crinkle lines that give batik its character.

The invention of the copper block or cap developed by the Javanese in the 20th century revolutionised batik production. It became possible to make high quality designs and intricate patterns much faster than one could possibly do by hand-painting.

As compared to Indonesian batik, which are mystic-influenced and carry illustrations of animals and people, Malaysian batik have brighter hues and more versatile patterns. Kelantan on the eastern coast of Malaysia is the home of Malaysian batik.