Friday, December 31, 2010

Foreign Friday

Batik painting 
December 1979 

The woman, pictured above, is painting on the fabric with hot wax, a process called batik painting. The wax prevents the color from adhering to the area in the dyeing process, and the original color will show when the wax is removed. Today, quilters like to use batiks in their quilts, but that fabric and process is much different from these paintings, which were made of silk.

Once the outline of wax is on the fabric, the dyes are added, also by hand. The wax is melted sometime during the process and the design remains. You can find some examples of silk, batik paintings here

Batik blocks are used mostly on yardage. The blocks are dipped in hot wax, again by hand, and then applied to the fabric in a repetitious manner. The fabric is then dyed.

After the final dyeing, the wax is removed from the fabric. 

I am sure that today's commercial batiks do not have the wax applied by hand, but the process is the same.

Update: August 29, 2012

Bonnie Hunter visited a Batik factory while visiting Bali and wrote about it in three parts: part one and part two and part three. Bonnie also took a class in creating batik fabric


  1. That is a labor intensive process! I bet the resulting fabric is beautiful. Did you happen to buy any?

  2. Interesting...basically the same technique used in dyeing Ukrainian Easter eggs :)

  3. The top two are so very pretty but what a huge amount of work!


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