Batik is a wax resists dyeing technique. In this dyeing method designs and patterns are traced on fabric with hot liquid wax. Wax is a dye resistant substance which prevents fabric from absorbing color while painting or dip dying. Applying wax also helps to control colors from spreading out from a particular area. Batik is a fabric dyeing method using wax to create patterns and designs. This method use melted wax as a dye resistant substance to prevent fabric from absorbing colors. The applied wax is not only a dye-resistant substance but it also helps to control colors from spreading out from a particular area to create motif. It is common to use a mixture of beeswax and paraffin wax. The beeswax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking. Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Sometimes several colors are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps. Hot wax is applied to fabric using a tool named “tjanting” or “Canting” with a wooden handle and a tiny metal cup with a tiny spout. Batik technique has two major type hand drawn batik and batik cap. In hand drawn batik technique the application of wax with the canting tool is done with great care and therefore is very time-consuming. The canting is used like a pen on the cloth. Other method of applying wax on fabric is Block batik putting hot wax onto pre-carved wooden or copper block (called a cap) and stamping the fabric.
Hand-drawn batik: Hand-drawn batik is a type of batik that the designs are drawn on the fabric with hot liquid wax by using a metal object called canting. When the wax outlines are done, artists use the brushes to paint the dyes within the outlines. The use of brush allows for the creation of shaded and multi-hued designs. Various fabrics are used including cotton, rayon, linen, voile and silk. These fabrics are patterned with floral and geometrical motifs, arranged in various layouts as dictated by current trends.
Block batik: Another type of batik is the block printed batik. The canting will be replaced by a copper block or sometimes a wooden stamp with artistically patterned bottom. The block is dipped into the wax and printed onto the fabric, which is then dip-dyed. Then the wax will be removed and batik with single colour is produced. To create multi-colours and complex batik, waxing with different blocks, dying and de-waxing have to be done many times. Block-printed batik does not have the intricate delicacy of hand-drawn batik and similar shapes or patterns are repeated on a piece of fabric. Cotton is a popular fabric used in block-printed batik and the output quantity is around 20 metres, depending on the original size of fabric. Block-printed batik is usually tailored into shirts and dresses for leisure wear. Block-printed batik is also made into handicrafts and soft furnishings like table clothes.
Batik Origins: Evidence of early examples of batik has been found in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia and India from over 2000 years ago. It is conceivable that these areas developed independently, without the influence from trade or cultural exchanges. However, it is more likely that the craft spread from Asia to the islands of the Malay Archipelago and west to the Middle East through the caravan route. Batik was practiced in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618) and in Japan during the Nara period (645-794 AD). In Africa it was originally practiced by the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, Soninke and Wolof in Senegal. No evidence of very old cotton batiks have been found in India but frescoes in the Ajanta caves depict head wraps and garments which could well have been batiks. In Java and Bali temple ruins contain figures whose garments are patterned in a manner suggestive of batik. By 1677 there is evidence of a considerable export trade, mostly on silk from China to Java, Sumatra, Persia and Hindustan. In Egypt linen and occasionally woolen fabrics have been excavated bearing white patterns on a blue ground and are the oldest known and date from the 5th century A.D. They were made in Egypt, possibly Syria. In central Africa resist dyeing using cassava and rice paste has existed for centuries in the Yoruba tribe of Southern Nigeria and Senegal. Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached the greatest peak of accomplishment. The Dutch brought Indonesian craftsmen to teach the craft to Dutch warders in several factories in Holland from 1835. The Swiss produced imitation batik in the early 1940s. A wax block form of printing was developed in Java using a cap.
Canting: Canting or tjanting is a tool for applying hot wax to the fabric. This item is similar to a pen that to apply the design with the wax directly to the cloth.
Block or cap: Copper block (called a cap) is a tool for stamping the fabric in block batik method.
Sarong: A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs also have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants.