A little while ago Jacob, my Mum and I went to a batik course in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Your probably wondering, “What’s Batik?” that’s a good question. Batik is a traditional Indonesian painting or pattern made by hot wax and colour dye. It’s done by hand and is a very long and difficult process. They do the painting on cloth.
We took a one hour batik class just down the street from where we were staying. When we got there, we had to make a choice of paintings. We could either pick a pattern from them or make your own. Jacob picked to do his own. My Mum and I picked to make one of their patterns. We both picked drawings of birds. They were different from each other, but also alike in some ways.
We started our painting with a few very talented locals who were really good at it. They had been doing batik since they were little girls. They told us to put this pen like thing into some wax wait for a bit and started to trace. You might think tracing is super easy, but it’s not. It is quite difficult with hot wax. We kept getting dots of wax everywhere. When we didn’t spill, we often made the wax lines to light to show up. After we finished, some of the other local ladies helped us make it look better.
In the mean time Jacob was working on making a soccer ball in batik. He drew the outline and was now tracing it. I think he did a pretty good job and so did we.
Once all of us were finished, we picked which colour we wanted for our batik. Jacob picked black. I picked blue. Our Mum picked red.
First they rinsed our batik work in something that looked like water. Then they put them in artificial dye. Last, but not least, they put them in boiling water so that the wax would come off. Now you might think that they put it in any old pot but that is not what they did. They actually put them in a huge stone cauldron. Under it lay a fire that they keep going most of the day. They put all their batik through the same cauldron.
When we saw our final project, we were all happy. None of us expected it to be so hard to learn batik, but it was a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend doing a course, if you have a chance.