Learning the Art of Java Batik

We had the wonderful opportunity on April 29th to share with members of the Foreign born spouses the art of Java batik.

Java batik is an art that has been carried on for many centuries, but it takes a lot of patience, a steady hand, and many applications over and over to get the desirable color. Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing that is applied on the drawing fine cotton cloth. Only the highest fine quality cotton can be used for Batik art.

It starts with a dot and then it goes from there: it is an art that fascinates the eyes.



At the start of the workshop, two tables were set with all the necessary items for this amazing, exquisite, tedious, and fascinating art. On the tables there were warmers with wax containers and a tjanting, which is dipped in the warmed wax and delicately applied to the very fine cotton cloth that has been drawn with a desirable design of each individual’s choice. The wax must be traced and applied in a way that the front and the back looks exactly the same. Once the wax is traced and then colored, the fabric has to be boiled to melt the wax. This process has to be repeated over and over again until the final desirable colors are to the individual’s choice. If three colors are applied it takes a very, very long time to finish.

In addition to creating our own batik, we learned that the tradition for making batik is found in various countries around the world: however, the Indonesia Batik is the best known. Additionally, several patterns are indicative of certain occasions or meanings, such as: babies, a bright future, health, happiness, joy, young and single ready to be engaged, protection, and more. These patterns should only be worn by the individuals who are meant to wear the particular meaning.

Batiks can now be produced by new technology. They look very nice, but cannot compare to the handmade art that is also very expensive. The batiks are used for ceremonies and are passed down from generation to generation.

Many thanks to Ratna Cary who so generously provided all the materials, her time, and her very warm personality to teach our Foreing Born Spouses group the art of batik. If you are interested in hosting a future workshop for our members please contact jennykocher@gmail.com.

Troella Tyznik

AAFSW Assistant Treasurer