How It’s Made: Traditional Balinese Batik

Dec 22, 2014

The art of batik has been practiced for centuries, beginning with the villagers and tribesmen of remote, tropical regions in what are now the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.  Although the precise origins of batik are unknown, it is most common on the island of Java, Indonesia. When the art of batik was first practiced in Java, this form of textile art was only done by royalty and families of wealth and position. A hobby for the royal woman, aristocrats and royalty had certain designs identifying a family, social status, or geographical location on the island. Many of these designs have survived to this day. Today it is believed that certain patterns have special meanings and are thought to bring the wearer good luck, prosperity, wealth, and other positive energy.

This unique cloth dyeing method is known as a “wax resist” process.  To make batik, an artist will draw or stamp hot wax on to plain white fabric, and then dye the whole thing. The wax dries and is then removed, either by scraping or boiling the material.  The design that was drawn or stamped with the wax remains, as the wax protected those parts of the fabric from absorbing the dye.  Multiple colors are created by re-stamping and overdyeing in a different color, or by hand-painting the designs.


Although the batik process pretty much always follows those steps, some of the best effects of batik are a work of chance.  Sometimes, for example, the wax will crack to let a little bit of dye through, adding an unexpected hairline or crackling effect to a design. It is tiny variables like this which lead batik to have a unique organic look, making no two pieces of batik the same, but each an individual work of art!

At Mexicali Blues, you can find a wide array of batik clothing for women, men, and children, as well as batik quilts and wall hangings, and other awesomeness!  Check out our responsibly imported batik collection here:

The post How It’s Made: Traditional Balinese Batik appeared first on Mexicali Blues Blog.

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