In an era of incessant advancement and technological breakthroughs, we often forget to pause and contemplate legacies left to us from our ancestors, for among the most beautiful gifts society has offered us are those from past traditions and folklore such as Asian Batik.
Batik may be a well-known traditional fabric printing technique in South East Asia, but it deserves further appreciation as it has inspired many generations and cultures from East to West.
Evidence of early examples of batik have been found in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia and India from over 200 centuries ago.
Batik was practised in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618). These were silk batiks and have also been discovered in Nara, Japan, in the form of screens and ascribed to the Nara period (AD 710-794). It is likely that these items were made by Chinese artists.
Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached the greatest peak of accomplishment.
There is nowhere else in the world where the art of batik has been developed to the highest standards as in the island of Java in Indonesia.
All the raw materials for the process are readily available - cotton and beeswax and many plants from which the dyes are made.
THE ART AND THE CRAFT
Batik is both an art and a craft, which is becoming more popular and well known in the West as a wonderfully creative medium. The art of decorating cloth in this way, using wax and dye, has been practised for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest batik cloth in the world is still made there. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot.
To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs. After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for wearing or showing.
Batik is historically the most expressive and subtle of the resist methods. The ever widening range of techniques available offers the artist the opportunity to explore a unique process in a flexible and exciting way.
Batik has been commonly used to adorn traditional outfits. The array of colors and patterns we find in Batik today suggests its appreciation among younger generations.
The future is becoming complex and we grasp at the opportunity for simplicity through nostalgia. As minds evolve, what we wear has become an expression of who we are and who we aspire to be.
Our aspiration is to use Batik seductively and uncover its mysticism through avant-garde designs.