Batik is a traditional fabric dyeing process that uses a technique called wax resist. Indonesian craft workers have been making batik for over l000 years. The process was first used by the people who lived on Java.
The Process : Batik is made when a pattern of hot wax is applied onto cloth, traditionally cotton. After the designs are applied with wax, the cloth is dipped into dye. The dye colours the parts of the material that are not waxed. The wax-coated areas resist colouring. The wax is removed by boiling the cloth. Wax is applied several times, so that the design can be coloured indifferent colours.
Tools : Traditionally, wax was applied with a tool called a canting, which is rather like a wax-filled pen. Later, a copper stamp called a cap was invented, so that designs could be applied more quickly. These days, many places have machines to apply wax liquid patterns.
Designs : There are about 80 traditional Indonesian batik designs, many of which are symbolic and worn on special occasions, such as at a wedding, to bring good luck to the bride and groom. However, today other designs are also made, and batik is used to pattern pictures to hang on walls.
History : After Dutch colonization, the batik took on a new role as the formal dress for citizen in the country. During this time, the batik was made mostly from mori fabric. Modifications made to this traditional costume later introduced the use of silk and embroidery to add design and color. The most dominant form of batik worn on the islands of Java and Bali today, can be visibly traced to the batik worn in Java and Sunda from the late 19th – early 20th century onwards.