Batik has a long and rich heritage on the island of Java.
We spent two days with Dedi Perwadi and his wife Wineng of Batik Jolawe, where they make batik cloth using traditional methods of hand drawing with wax and dying with natural materials.
Batik is made by applying wax to a cloth in a particular pattern, then dying the cloth. The wax prevents the dye from reaching the cloth, so when the wax is washed away it leaves behind the pattern on the cloth.
A canting is used to apply wax to the cloth. It is a small tool with a wooden or bamboo handle. At the end of it is a small reservoir for the hot wax, and a spout for slowly dripping or pouring the wax onto the cloth.
Every time you want to add a new color to your batik, you must re-apply the wax to all of the areas you do not want to color. It is a detailed and painstaking process.
It’s a deceptively simple process. Anyone can do it, but it takes a real artist to draw masterfully with the canting and understand all the nuances of the dyes.
The first day, I wasn’t very satisfied with my work. I thought there would be more contrast in the dyes I chose.
So I came back again a second day to re-apply the wax and try a new dye.
There was also a cat to play with, so he was pretty happy.
I’m pretty sure my skills improved in the second day. I only burned myself with hot wax once, and the end result was much, much better.