Thursday, November 15, 2007

About Batik

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Batik is Native Malaysian wax-painted textiles.

It derives its name from the Javanese word Amba Titik meaning Writing Dots (Amba = Write, Titik = Dots).

Batik is believed to have originated with the Arabs of Iraq and made its way to Africa, India and Kelantan in Malaysia.

But the traditional Native Malaysian textile is most associated with the Javanese people who mostly inhabit modern-day Indonesia.

While Kelantan is the home of Batik, Java is its global centre. The best Batik is made in Java.

To make Batik, melted wax is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye.

It is common for people to use a mixture of bees wax and paraffin wax.

The bees wax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking, which is a characteristic of Batik.

Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate.

Several colours are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps.

Thin wax lines are made with a canting needle, a wooden handled tool with a tiny metal cup and a tiny spout, out of which the wax seeps.

Other methods of applying the wax onto the fabric include painting the wax on with a brush and applying the hot wax to pre-carved wooden or metal wire blocks and stamping the fabric.

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 colours.

Batik normally has an intricate pattern. The traditional ones carry natural colours while the contemporary ones have more varieties of colour.