THE BEAUTY OF BATIK

One of the textile crafts that is trending these days is none other than Batik. The beautiful Batik can be simultaneously treated as an art as well as a craft. The art of making patterns on a piece of cloth using wax and dye, has been practiced for centuries and is probably a thousand years old. The traditional craft can be traced to the various neighboring countries of India, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as Philippines and Nigeria too. The most famous being the batik of Indonesia. It is the most developed one on aspects of pattern, technique, and the quality of workmanship. Batik is getting more popular among the youth who finds it a way of showcasing their creativity.

 The word batik is derived from the Javanese word tik and means dot. The process of batik is quite extensive but amazing. Selected portions of the fabric are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and keeps the original color intact. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate colorful and intricate designs. After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for transforming into apparel. The Batik found nowadays is slightly different from how it used to be done in the past. The artist may involve several techniques such as etching, stencil and discharge dyeing as well as different tools for waxing and dyeing, wax recipes with different resist values and work with natural fibers like silk, cotton, wool, leather, paper or even wood and ceramics. Batik is historically the most soothing yet exquisite of the resist methods. The wide range of techniques that are undertaken during the process of batik offers the artisan the opportunity to explore a unique process in an enthusiastic way.

After the cloth is dried, the wax is removed by boiling or scraping the fabric. The areas treated with resist keep their original color. When the resist is removed the contrast between the dyed and un-dyed areas highlights the designs. This process is repeated that number of times as the number of colors desired. The oldest form of batik is the written batik called batik tulis. It is drawn using only the canting. The fabric is required to be drawn on both sides and dipped in a dye bath three to four times. Even though it’s a time taking process which can take up to a year, still it render more intricate and fine designs as compared to batik done by stamping. In Indonesia, 2nd October is celebrated as National Batik Day. On this day, UNESCO recognized Indonesian batik in the year 2009 which prompted the Indonesian administration to formulate a regulation for Indonesians to wear batik on Fridays. From then on, wearing batik apparels every Friday has been encouraged in government offices and private institutions.

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