Traditional and modern Batik fabrics from Indonesia



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Once you visit a Batik manufacturing shop in the island of Java (Indonesia), you’ll agree that Batik is not only a type of fabric, but a form of local art. Batiks come in multiple colors and patterns, and they’re often used for shirts, dresses, blankets, and curtains.

The process to make them is fascinating and they usually require cotton or silk of a high thread count so that the details of the designs are maintained. Javanese artisans or manufacturers start by creating their own patterns and color palettes. Then, the different shades of wax start to be applied through a dye resistance process. They use a copper container that is filled with wax (also called wax pen) attached to a bamboo handle to draw the designs on the cloth. Some Batik makers still use this technique, while others have adopted a copper stamp to speed up the process and ensure consistency on the design elements.

 A woman uses a canting to apply wax to a cloth to make a pattern on a batik. Batik is a traditional form of decorating cloth, and Java is particularly famous for its variety of patterns and the quality of workmanship. The technique includes the manual application of wax between each dye bath to add each layer of colour individually.

The traditional batiks follow strict guidelines of patterns and color palettes that can be applied, but nowadays batik makers operate with a lot more flexibility (what vendors now call “batik modern” fabrics.

Let us know if you want to know anything else about batik fabrics. Soon we’ll follow up with a post on how to take care of your batik clothing products and blankets.

A few Batik favorites: