Batik Design in Bali

Tessie joined us in Bali 2 weeks ago and she has been exploring the culture of the island from the moment the plane touched down. An inspiration to our community, she lights up every room with her energy and compassion.

A photo of Tessie at a traditional juice making class on our rooftop in UBUD, Bali
Tessie at a traditional juice making class on our rooftop in UBUD, Bali

Here with us for 2 months, she’s retired from over 15 years in corporate insurance and committed this year to exploring life in social service. Tessie heads to Jakarta in October to volunteer with a foundation that supports literacy for children (request to remain anonymous) and we are lucky to have her!

We asked Tessie what her favourite adventure has been so far, and she wanted us to share the traditional art of Batik — here’s a peek inside her experience.

Time to get crafty, Bali style!

So, what is Batik?

It’s a method (originally used in Java, Indonesia) of producing coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left ‘undyed’.

A photo of a woman hand painting wax on this design before dying
A woman hand paints wax on this design before dying

A photo of the traditional spouted tool is used to draw the wax (Canting also spelled Tjanting)
Traditional spouted tool is used to draw the wax (Canting also spelled Tjanting)

A brief history…

Experts have said that Batik was originally reserved as an art form for Javanese royalty — since many of the original patterns were inspired by designs worn only by Royalty from the Sultan’s palace in Yogyakarta.

The traditional colours for Batik were derived from plants and trees and there were only 3 variations, Blue (Indigo Plant) Brown (Soga tree) and dark Red (Morinda Citrifolia).

A photo of an indigo dye pot
Indigo dye pot

This method can be traced back 1,500 years and samples have been found in Egypt, Middle East, Turkey, India, China, Japan and West Africa — although none have been noted to develop the art as intricately as the Batik found in Indonesia.

A photo of the traditional ceremonial attire in Bali, includes Batik fabric and Kebaya
Traditional ceremonial attire in Bali, includes Batik fabric and Kebaya

Widya Batik hosts regular Batik workshops, we highly recommend their classes if you’re in UBUD.

Here is a step by step of “How to make a Batik”, shared by Tessie ❤

Photo of a woman drawing her image on the muslin
Step 1: Draw your image on the muslin fabric, from a pre-made image of your choice or draw your own.

A photo of drawing wax over the design
Step 2: Draw wax over your design to separate the colours before dying

A photo of stamping the fabric with a design
Step 3: Stamp the fabric with a design of your choice
A photo of the natural dye choices for batik, depicted in a color wheel
Step 4: Select your colours from the natural dye choices

A photo of a kid painting her batik design
Step 5: Paint your design

A photo of finished batik designs hanging to dry
Step 6: Hang your design to dry for one hour
A photo of cloth soaking to lock in the colour
Step 7: Soak your fabric into cold water to bring out the real colour, then hot water to remove the wax. Cold water one more time to lock in the colour.

A photo of Tessie’s final product!
Step 8: Enjoy your creativity! (Tessie’s final product!)

Amazing job Tessie and a HUGE thank you for sharing this experience with us ❤

If you’re looking for things to do in Bali, keep an eye on Roam Coliving for more recommendations or follow our local adventures on Facebook!

P.s. — We are grateful to The Bali Expat blog for providing great information on the history of the Batik.

Make this life a wonderful adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *