Batik Elaborately decorated fabrics and patterns can be seen almost everywhere in the world today. Batik ing is a type of decorated fabric, which usually depicts motifs of flowers, birds, butterflies and other natural objects, or simple geometric forms. These designs are rich in symbolic heritage and variety; to date there are over three thousand recorded batik patterns. To perform the art of batik ing, one must know a little about its origin, the necessary materials, and the method of creating a batik. The technique of “batik” itself is Indonesian in origin; the word “batik” is an Indonesian-Malay word that means “to dot.” The art of batik ing is more than a millennium old.
There are evidences that cloth decorated through a form of resistant technique was used early AD in West African, Middle-Eastern, and Asian communities. Over the past two or three centuries, batik has become one of the best means of expression, spiritually and culturally, in the values of Southeast Asia. This means of coloring and decorating textiles has even reached a higher degree of excellence in the island of Java. From Java, batik cloth has been exported to many other islands, spreading the batik ing art around, which is how it is so well known, as are most of the items used to create it. A number of different materials are used when creating a batik. The primary requirements are cloth, wax, various colored dyes and an electric skillet (to melt the wax).
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The best type of wax to use is a combination of beeswax and paraffin, because paraffin alone crackles too much. Other materials used while dyeing the fabric are, measuring cups and spoons, rubber gloves, and bucket (s) to hold the dye. Paintbrushes are of use once the wax has melted in the electric skillet, as are cookie sheets or tinfoil to place under the batik while working. After the fabric has been dyed, newspaper, an iron, and unprinted paper are used to remove the wax.
Once all the materials are collected, starting the process of creating a batik is in order. The first step in creating a batik is creating a design and tracing it onto the cloth using a light board. After the design is transferred to the cloth, the paintbrush is dipped into the melted wax, held at room temperature by an electric skillet, and everything except the portion of the fabric to be dyed is waxed. When dyeing, it is always best to start with the lightest colors, progressing towards the darker ones. The longer the fabric is left in the dye, the darker it becomes. When the batik is dry, the wax is removed by ironing.
First the batik is placed between two pieces of newspaper, using the unprinted paper next to the cloth to prevent ink transfer. Then a dry iron is passed over the newspaper how ever many times until the wax is removed. This process is repeated as desired, depending upon how many colors are used. The finished product, is a beautifully colored and decorated piece of fabric. Though the art of batik is more than a thousand years old, requires a number of materials, and may take a while to create, the end result is something one should be proud of making.
Some of the most beautiful batiks are made with inspiration from nature, such as flowers and birds. Floral prints are common, and were probably motivated by the intricate designs of batiks.