Batik- A magic recreated with wax

Batik is a technique of fabric dyeing that is making waves all round the world. Originally from Java it has flourished and drifted in to culture of migratory lands. Apart from many Asian destinations like Indian states the skill has grown popular in Indonesia, Mexico, Egypt and Japan. The uniqueness of this craft is inherited in its diverse aspects. Batik is art more than a craft which is about 2000 years old.
In Egypt the waxed linen wrap was used to cover mummies in the 4th century BC and this is where the art of wax resist dyeing began. Batik making is a tradition followed in many nations however; the best-known one is from Indonesia. UNESCO acknowledged the art and declared Indonesian Batik declared as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in October 2009.
In India, some authors account the rise of batik in 1923 by Pratimadevi Tagore in Shanti Niketan. It is a well preserved antique and unusual craft. The traditional art is providing employment to scores of under-privileged women in Rajasthan. Indians are not new to resist technique of printing, they have been using rice starch and wax since 2000 years ago to tailor bright pattern.
Wall hangings, ethnic Indian clothes, tops, bed linens, framed artworks or batik textured handmade papers are some exquisite items available in market. The pieces use various colours with high level of expertise. Cotton is the most preferred choice for creative batik creation; today it is being done on silk and linen too.
Making batik is multi-step procedure that has beautiful result. To begin with de-starch the fabric and draw design. There are multiple methods to trace design- shadow technique and stencil technique. In shadow method cloth is laid on glass with the design and held against sunlight or some source of illumination which casts a shadow of the design. Another method of tracing is called pola; it involves the use of stencil.
The design varies from region to region. It may be geometric or a freeform motif which are natural and stylized patterns. Wax is applied on the design before dying. A pointed pen like tool known as tjanting tool is used to apply wax. The tool consists of metal needle fixed in bamboo handle with a 6 cm wrap of absorbent fibre or hair. This cover holds melted wax. Batik is a resist printing. Wax acts as resistant to dye penetration resulting in beautiful pattern. Any spilt wax cannot be removed completely so the artisans must be proficient to prevent accidental wax dripping. The next step is dying. Instead of earthenware as earlier modern day uses concrete vats for first dye bath. The colours used earlier were natural but these days’ synthetic cold dyes are used. Darker the shade needed, prolonged immersion is required. Remove the fabric from dye and rinse with cold water to fix the wax. For the multiple colour pattern artisans reapply wax on the area of dried fabric where first dye colour needs to be kept intact and the procedure is repeated.
Old technique is known as Painted-on-technique while replacing it is rewaxing and overdyeing processes known as ‘coletan’. The process is much quicker than the old approach introduced from India.
In final stage dip the fabric in boiling water to remove wax.
Batik portrays expressions through raw yet new and interesting way. The awesomeness of design, technology and finesse of the art cause revival of it in modern lives. Now, more clients are inclined towards handmade creations and love to buy these authentic pieces. If you want to dress your home as like you a batik piece is must pick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *