Saturday, August 29, 2009

Batik - Malaysia/Indonesia - Block Printing Method

Traditional Batik from Yogyakarta, Indonesia
images compliments of my good friends and fellow globe-trotters, Usha and Wei Ching

Batik refers to fabric where the wax resist method of dyeing is used to print or paint patterns, and is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, other SE Asian countries as well as African and Carribean countries.

Traditionally, Batik in Malaysia and Indonesia is made using the block printing method or drawing method.
Block printing involves the use of a hand-held stamp fashioned from wood or metal. This is then dipped in hot/liquid wax and the pattern stamped onto the fabric in repeating blocks. As the wax seeps into the fabric and dries, the area covered by the wax becomes dye resistant. Coloured dye is then applied to the rest of the fabric either by dipping or by painting.
Where there are more than 2 colours, the stamping process is repeated with wax applied to a different part of the pattern, and another round of dye applied to the fabric using a different colour.
The final colours are then fixed and the wax removed by boiling or using a solvent.

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