For centuries, Javanese Batik has been made the same way --by drawing or stamping wax on cloth and then dyeing the cloth, once or by repeatedly, holding and releasing areas of color with wax, until it is finally boiled out —- thus revealing the skill and effort of the makers of the cloth.
Batik makers often use imported synthetic dye, however, in Java more and more artisans are returning to traditional methods, by producing batik with natural dyes from plants that grow abundantly in the wet tropical soil.
Batik Process: Step by Step
We begin with an overview of the batik making process, step by step. We explore early patterning and the influences of culture and trade on both design and choice of color.
We visit a family in Ambarawa, north Java, who produce indigo pigment to supply to numerous workshops across Java. From there we visit a collective of artisans in Central Java who take us through then entire process with rich narrative and stunning visuals along the way. We learn about their interesting past and their ideas for the future.
The Artisan and their Craft
Once we have explored the process of batik, we move on to look at the work of four talented artisans and groups making a living with batik. We look at historical patterns being masterfully recreated, as well as contemporary styles influenced by a love of Asian Art.
The film “BATIK OF JAVA: A VISUAL JOURNEY” offers a wonderful overview into the national treasure of Indonesia. A wonderful opportunity to learn batik visually, and an excellent basis for moving on to appreciate some of the many books on batik, surface design, and Indonesian Art & Culture.
With thanks to the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Rudolf Smend, Inger McCabe Elliott, Dharma Trading, Zijdelings, Rainbow Silks, Abig (Germany), Sue & Dennis Richardson, Silksationals (Australia), Asian Textile Art (Hong Kong), Primitive (Chicago), The Indonesian Consulate of San Francisco, Hafidz Effendi and Gwen Jones for their support and assistance in this project.