Batik painting is an Indonesian technique of resist dyed craft where wax is applied to whole cloth or along specific design. The tradition of batik dyeing is found in various countries. It is believed that the term is a derivation from the word `Ambatik’ which when translated literally stands for a piece of cloth with small dots or writing with wax or drawing in broken lines.
To make a traditional batik design, the pattern is hand-drawn with hot wax on prepared fabric, using special tools called canting. This batik technique is called batik tulis. But besides that Batik cap & Batik lukis are also recognised as Batik techniques as they too use wax for resist dyeing. The wax is used to cover the areas which are to be protected from the dye. Traditionally, batik dyes were made from plants. The most widely used was indigo blue and soga, a warm brown colour made from the bark of the Soga tree. Meanwhile, a combination of two types of wax is used in this craft- Beeswax, Paraffin wax which acts as the resist. The ratio of both waxes determines the Batik texture produced.
Contemporary batik, while owing much to the past, is markedly different from the more traditional and formal styles. For example, the artist may use etching, discharge dyeing, stencils, different tools for waxing and dyeing, wax recipes with different resist values and work with silk, cotton, wool, leather, paper or even wood and ceramics.
Its present day applications of Batik Fabrics can be found in sarees, kimono shrugs, blouses, shirts, dresses and other accessories.
Batik painting is historically the most expressive and subtle of the resist methods. The ever-widening range of techniques available offers the artist the opportunity to explore a unique process in a flexible and exciting way.