Buying clothing today has become so routine we rarely ever think of how the raw materials are made. It is impossible to study textile and fibers without exploring the history of batik, both a craft and an art.
Batik is an age – old method of adding color to natural fibers, it has no known date of origin as it appears to pre – date the keeping of written records. However many examples have been discovered in archeological excavations in areas such as Egypt and India. The methods flourished in areas such as Asia, the Middle East, India and Africa.
Batiks begin with natural fibers that have been pre – laundered in order to remove all solvents. The word Batik comes from the Javanese word tik which means to dot. The material then receives a design which can be stenciled or drawn onto the fabric. The method known as a wax – resist, then uses the application, or dotting of hot wax, the wax is also a natural ingredient such as beeswax. Where ever the wax has been tiked (dotted) the fibers will remain their original color during the next process, dying. Dying determines the color of the surrounding fibers that have not been treated with wax, where the wax will resist (block, prevent, stop or repel) the dye. Once dying is completed the wax is removed and the cloth is ready to be used in construction.
The art of batiking comes from the tools that are used as well as the skill of the craftsman. Batiking can be done with bold simple shapes, or the application of wax in fine minute details that can create an intricate scene.
Special thanks to Brenda Gragg for the adaptation of batiking for classroom use.