At VEDC Malang, in collaboration with a local high-school SMK5, the Darmasiswa students had a chance to create their own batik! Batik is the traditional Indonesian art of creating colorful fabric using wax. You can find examples of batik everywhere in Indonesia, every part of the country has it’s own special patterns and choice of colors, most designs depict nature items (both plants and animals) or just geometrical shapes, there is no limit to imagination. It was exciting to go through the process step by step and understand this unique tradition.
Find inspiration! You can find many ideas in design books, on the internet or just out of your head. When you do, draw it down on a piece of paper.
After you have exactly want you want on paper, draw over the pencil lines with a marker to make them visible under the fabric and copy with the pencil on the fabric – most of the times it will be white, all colors will be added later.
Carefully draw all the outlines with wax using a special tool called ‘canting’. In a heated bowl, the wax is almost liquid, one must take wax with the canting and slowly leave a wax trace on the lines. Must be very very careful not to spill or drip the wax, it will ruin the design, every wax spot will be visible at the end. One must not hurry either, the wax has to penetrate the fabric creating a thick line, important aspect for the next step.
Adding color. Let’s say you draw some flowers and leaves, and now you want to make them red, yellow and green. Well, first of all you must create the colors using chemicals. For this process we had help from the school, but once we got the main colors we mixed them on our own and created shades of red, green, orange and even made dark colors like black, brown and grey, which cannot be made directly. With a stick and a piece of wadding at the end, dip it in the color cup and then gently on the fabric to make sure the color doesn’t spread where it shouldn’t. If the lines are drawn thick enough, they will stop to colors within their limits.
Fixation of the color by covering all the colored area with a special gel that will solidify and penetrate the fabric as well. It takes a few hours for the gel to work, so it’s best left overnight.
Wash the fabric with cold water for the fixation gel to be removed. One can clearly see that the colors are brighter and sharper, so it’s a very important step in the process. Wait for the fabric to dry to go to the next step.
Cover all the colored areas with wax using paint brushes. This way, those parts are protected from the final step, making the background. This step is extremely important, the wax must be thoroughly done, making sure that the wax has penetrated enough to cover the other side as well. Also a lot of work for this one, then wait for it to be completely dry.
Preparing to color the background. As all colors are chemicals, mixtures of salts, they must be prepared according to a very precise measurement. With the help of weight, all chemical powders are set and them dipped in the big tubs with water.
The cool part is that the color is actually from a chemical reaction – dipping the fabric in 2 types of water with different powders, so first you can’t see any change and then the second time it’s like magic and it appears right before your eyes!
After it dries from washing, the fabric now with a beautiful color background still has all the wax on it so it is dipped in boiling water to remove it. After that, just hang it to let it dry and it is completed!
Be very very proud of your work! Making a batik 2m long and 80cm wide in 5 days is not an easy task 🙂 That’s why all the students got an award for their work!
Wan chose to draw a very cute panda on his batik, must admit it was one of the most photographed batiks, he deserves his prize!
Tojo wanted to promote his country Madagascar, and how to do it better than with the famous cartoon everyone loves? He drew Gloria, Melman, Alex, Marty and the penguins! It looks great and everyone was talking about his work 😉
Somchai managed to do a great job, finish on time, help others even though he missed one day of work. He amazed everybody with great artistic skills both in design and choice of colors. Well done Somchai!
Nia was the fastest among the students to finish all the steps from above and make friends with the high-school students, helping us translate sometimes, as she is fluent in bahasa Indonesia. A very cute and simple batik with her signature!
Markhabo unfortunately spilled a full glass of green color while on STEP 4. It wasn’t looking very good and she was very upset, but with a smart choice of background color she managed to solve the problem and have a great end result!
Mariam was the only one who didn’t use a paper to make her design, she drew everything from her imagination just letting the pencil run all over the fabric! The result is fantastic, a vertical batik is a first!
Amy had a little trouble handling the canting and had some unwanted drops here and there, but she skillfully made them butterflies or leaves and nobody can tell the difference! Well done 😉
Harue missed the first day of batik week, but she still managed to finish first! Her batik was hanging in the yard long before the others and it’s so well done 🙂
GG put the teachers into difficulty asking for a first time double color background batik that has never been made before, yet the experiment turned out well and she could have her grain field and sky batik as she wanted. Impressive!
Bobur chose to keep his background white, quite risky as its color can be used to cover some mistakes on the way. But there was no problem for him, he did a perfect job, no wax or color spills, quite fantastic for a guy 🙂
Hulkar is last but not least! She missed 2 days of batik week so she took a bit more time to finish hers, the result will be posted soon 🙂 Till then, it’s a mystery!