Batik painting is an Indonesian technique of resist wax print fabrics where wax is applied to a whole cloth or along a specific design. The tradition of batik print fabric 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. Batik Material is very important to Indonesians and many people wear it to formal or casual events. 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.
The motifs and patterns used in batik are usually inspired by nature, such as flowers, plants and animals. However, there are also other motifs that have been created by artists over time.
In recent years, many new designs have emerged through experimentation with color, style and composition. This has led to a diversification of design within the tradition of batik, which can now be seen in new forms such as paintings on canvas or wood panels. We work with artisans in Bengal who have express their own perspective through this craft now.
At Anuprerna, we create the unique and abstract pattern by covering the complete fabric surface in wax and once cold, scrunch it slightly to create cracks. This is then dyed in the dark shade and treated in hot water to remove the wax. Once this is done, the fabric is dyed in the lighter base colour.
Another way we create Batik Design is by using a brush to paint the wax onto the fabric in the desired design. Then it is dyed, followed by washing in hot water. The result is the design remaining uncoloured over the dyed base. Depending on the design, the fabric may be dyed 1st and then painted with wax.
Due to the nature of this process, there is no right or wrong face of a Batik printed fabric. Both sides of the fabric are equally vibrant as the hot wax applied resists the dye equally on both faces. Thus, the easiest way to identify an authentic Batik is to check if the fabric looks the same on both sides.
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.