What is BATIK?

Batik is the word that rings a bell (pronunciation: baa’tick). Here is the some definitions of batik from different sources.

Batik with 'parang seling sekar' - Private collection. Courtesy of hedabatik

Wikipedia explains batik  is a cloth that traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique.

Batik of Java – poetics & politics Catalogue explains batik is a method of resist-dyeing as well as to a cloth produced with this method. The fabric is covered with liquid wax in the areas of the design which are to remain uncoloured and immersed in a cold dye-bath. The wax is applied as many times as there are colours, each time protecting another area of the cloth.

Rudolph G. Smend explains resist-dyeing process in which a substance such as hot wax or rice paste is applied to the surface of the fabric as a resist to dyes, to form not-dyeing areas of pattern.

So, batik is creating a hand-drawn pattern on the surface of plain fabric with a tool like a pen called ‘canting’ to resist dye and to protect the designed colour by applying the hot wax.

Mbatik lady from one of batik home industries in Yogyakarta. Courtesy of hedabatik
Mbatik gentleman using 'batik cap' (stamp). Courtesy of hedabatik

Batik is considered as real batik if the process using the hot wax with a canting or cap tool. If batik is produced without using the hot wax, that is not real batik.

Selections of canting - private collection. Courtesy of hedabatik
Batik cap tool. hedabatik's collection. Courtesy of hedabatik

The beauty of batik is a unique process by using the hot wax.

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