Contemporary design is a non-traditional style that focuses on simple, clean, and neat lines. Batik is a wax resist fibre art. It is used to denote a particular method of applying coloured designs to fabric. This method involves covering certain sections of the designs with a substance, usually liquid wax, so that the fabric underneath retains its original colour while the material is affected with the action of the dyes.

History of Batik

From the Javanese origin the word batik is taken. The word 'ambatik' means to mark with spots or dots. In a wider sense, it signifies drawing, painting or writing. No such word is to be found in the old Javanese language, so we can conclude that batik is a word of fairly recent origin.

Batik is an ancient art that has been carried forward for thousands of years. It is practiced in countries like Indonesia, Middle East, Thailand, Africa, Malaysia, India, China, Philippines, and other countries. The exact origin of batik is not known, but it is widely common on the island of Java, Indonesia. It is believed, when the art of batik was first practiced in Java, it only belonged to royal families and wealthy people.

The Europeans were the first to learn this art. They learnt it and introduced it in their own countries. Some countries like Japan, India, China and Africa have their own style and interpretation of this art. Indians started using these techniques to translate their own ideas when they realized the importance of this art form.

Methodology: To develop this product main focus is given to creativity and transformation of traditional technique and style of designing of batik to contemporary style and pattern and experiment by mixing different technique patterns and inspirations of different places.

Objectives: A contemporary batik artist who has a workshop will have access to appropriate materials and tools. Since the requirements are few, one should acquire and employ only the very best in respect of quality. With perseverance and the development of the craft, the artist/designer can enjoy the unique value that this medium offers for self-expression.

Tradition and development

In India the main centre of batik today is on the south eastern part of Deccan plateau and the Coromandel Coast. The traditional method is used in the south-eastern Deccan where batik is combined with colouring and painting. The pen used for waxing is called 'kalam'. It consists of a metal needle set into a bamboo handle, wrapped in about 6cm (2 in) absorbents of the fibre or hair which acts as a reservoir for the molten wax.

The work of waxing is done by men who belong to the caste of indigo dyers. After the first waxing they prepare the cloth again for further waxing and painting through processes such as washing, beating and tanning. These processes are comparitively easy and are usually completed by children.


Old Batik Techniques and process

Batik comprise of a process where a pattern or design is created with liquid wax on the cloth. This is done to protect the waxed area from being colored. So when the cloth is dipped in the color, the color does not enter the patch area which is waxed. The wax resists the colour and results into a surface which has dyed and un-dyed areas. This is how a pattern is made.

The dyes used for batik process has to be made only in vessels made of steel, plastic or enamel. This is because the properties of the material of the vessel can affect the dye. The first time when the cloth is dipped in the dye, lightest tone of the color should be used. In the old process of batik dyeing, artists were not allowed to use many colors in one go. But, with the development of advanced technology, modern techniques have been invented which makes the work of the artist easy. Now they can apply many colours using brush at one go.

Next, the cloth is again covered with wax on areas that have to retain the first colour. This process is carried out to get the darkest shade. The old Batik process involves many steps to obtain a particular shade. After the last dyeing, the fabric is placed between two layers of porous paper to dry. The wax has to be removed from the fabric onto the paper. This will give out the design that has been dyed on the fabric.

The important attribute of Batik is the cracks that appear in the design due to the wax. As the wax is frail, it cracks easy and the dye enters the waxed area. This creates a spider web design on places where wax has been applied. Normally, fabrics in pure form like pure cotton or silk is used for batik dyeing. This is because any mix in the fabric can hamper the effect of the colour on the cloth after washing.


1. Neol Dyrenforth

2. Batik modern concepts and techniques

3. Kyodo printing co. Singapore

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