Thursday, April 16, 2009

Batik Fabric and Tie Dye Fabric

An Indonesian site visitor who sells batik fabric made in Indonesia sent me this information on batik fabrics and some batik fabric images. The supplier link for these batik fabrics is at the bottom of this page.
Batik Fabrics & Garments

Batik fabric is generally thought of as the most quintessentially Indonesian textile.

Batik is an art form. Motifs of flowers, twinning plants, leaves buds, flowers, birds, butterflies, fish, insects and geometric forms are rich in symbolic association and variety.

How Batik Craft Artists Make Batik Fabric

The patterns to be dyed into the cloth are drawn with a canting, a wooden 'pen' fitted with a reservoir for hot, and liquid wax.

In batik workshops, circles of women sit working at clothes draped over frames, and periodically replenish their supply of wax by dipping their canting into a central vat. Some draw the art designs directly on the cloth from memory and others wax over faint charcoal lines.

This method of drawing patterns in wax on fine machine-woven cotton was practiced as a form of meditation by the female courtiers of Central Java. Traditionally, batik tulis (tulis means 'write' in Indonesian) is produced by women.
19th Century Batik Method

In the 19th century, the application of waxed patterns with a large copper stamp or cap saved the batik fashion industry from competition with cheap printed cloth. You can still find these batik stamps sometimes in antique shops.

The semi-industrial nature of cap work allows it to be performed by men. Batik motifs recall characters from the Hindu epics, plants, animals, sea creatures and gamelan melodies.

In Surakarta rich creams and browns are juxtaposed with tinges of yellowish gold.

White, undyed cloth is left to contrast with the sombre opulence of brown and blue dyes in Yogjakarta.

The colour palettes of the north coast were influenced by lively marine-trade and the textile traditions of the Chinese and Arab mercantile communities living in port and coastal towns.
The Symbolic Meaning of Batik Motifs

As in other fields of Javanese tradition the motifs of Batik material especially with older antique patterns symbolizes something. This might be one of the reasons why people still adore batik fabrics up to present date. Some of the Motifs are:


Sido Mulyo

Sido Dadi

Satrio Wibowo

Tikel Asmorodono

All these antique motifs have great meaning. Just as with crystals and gem stones it is thought that the woman or man wearing batik fabrics bearing these motifs will be furnished with what she or he wears.
The Cities of Batik

Yogyakarta and Surakarta are the art centres of traditional antique designs of batiks, whilst the north coastal town of Pekalongan is the centre of more modern batiks, using more floral and birds motifs.

There are some well-known artists of batik design in Jogya and Surakarta, as well as some big batik manufacturers with famous trademarks. The growing production of batik makes way to the establishment of mori (woven cotton fabrics) factories in Jogya and Central Java.

The Batik Research Institute was founded in Jogya.
Tie and Dye

Tie and Dye is also a resist method of decorating fabric whereby material is tied or sewn in random or specific pattern arrangements sometimes using stitching which is removed after dyeing. Wherever a resistance to the dye was leaves a pattern. These examples of tie dye fabric are from the same supplier.

The effects are generally more random as the dye penetrates areas which are not tied or stitched. (Check back soon for a page on how to do the tie and dye craft.)

Batik fabric is ideal for making into clothes, especially ethnic influenced women's fashions and holiday wear.

There are about three thousand recorded batik fabric patterns and many are considered to be antique fabric designs.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fiber Face - Cross Cultural Batik Collaborations

“In essence our world cultures are one and have arisen from the strength of the mind and the spirit of humankind and are based on the philosophies and cosmologies that are their roots. Ancient traditional cultures give evidence of this process and are roadmaps for the future.”

—Nia Fliam and Agus Ismoyo Isnugroho

This team of artists has been working across visible and invisible boundaries since 1985 when they established their fine-art batik studio, Brahma Tirta Sari, in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia. Nia, an American educated at Pratt Institute of New York, and Ismoyo, educated in an Indonesian industrial academy, translate the name of their studio to mean “creativity as the source of all knowledge.”* In 2005 they created a “culture house,” Babaran Segaragunung, to support their exploration of traditional cultures. We are very proud to have Nia and Ismoyo as artists-in-residence at Western Michigan University during the 2007-2008 school year—funded by the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence program, the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, and the Frostic School of Art.

Nia and Ismoyo are both artists and cultural explorers. Their art expresses their deep understanding of traditional Indonesian batik—once a royal art form intertwined with ancient philosophies about life and creative process. Their contemporary fine art textiles are intricate and time intensive. They have exhibited in many prestigious exhibitions around the world, and worked with many distinguished curators. Since 1994 they have researched, taught, and worked in collaboration with Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Indonesian street youths, and various African, Asian and Australian artists.

*Brahma, is the Hindu world creator deity and as the chief priest is the best source of knowledge, Tirta is the name of a sacred water source, and Sari, translates as essence.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Solo Batik and Yogyakarta Batik

It became spread out especially in Java, around 17th, 18th, 19th centuries. For the first time, it has just served as a hobby for the castle family. Next, it was used as a trade commodity in society. Solo batik was famous of its design and traditional pattern especially for both stamp and handwritten process. For coloring, the material used was still remain using domestic product such as Java soga - it had been known since a long time ago- while the pattern used was “Sidomukti and Sidoluruh”.

Concerning the origin of batik production in Yogyakarta, it was known since The First Mataram Kingdom, ruled by Panembahan Senopati. The former was implemented in Plered village - only for castle family- the latter, it spread to court servant and troops. At official ceremony, the family member of the palace wore a costume in combination between batik and lurik. Thus, the people were interested in what they worn and they imitated them then. This is why batik became down to earth.The war occurred between both kingdom and Dutch colonial in the past, led to castle family take refuge and stay in new area such as Banyumas, Pekalongan, East Ponorogo, Tulungagung etc and they taught batik to many people. As a result, batik was known in this area, in the beginning of 18th centuries.

The Fight of Diponegoro against the Dutch has forced him and his family to leave the palace. They were spread then to the East and West. In this region, they presented batik. At East region, Solo and Yogyakarta batik had improved the design of Mojokerto and Tulungagung batik. Furthermore, it spread also in Gresik, Surabaya and Madura. Meanwhile, at West region, batik was known in Banyumas, Pekalongan, Tegal and Cirebon.

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Batik Development At Other Cities

After war in 1830, Dipenogoro’s companions presented batik in Sokaraja -batik center in Banyumas and the place where Najendra, one of Diponegoro’s companion improved dip batik- the unbleached plain cloth used was self weaving product and the dye used was tom tree, pace tree and bengkudu tree on which they gave red and yellow color. From time to time, Batik production had been developed in Sokaraja. In the end of 19th centuries, they made a direct partnership with batik maker from Solo and Ponorogo. Batik production area that was placed in Banyumas had been known since many years ago. It was because of its design and specific color. To day people call it in Batik Banyumas. After World War I, Chinese was not only became a batik trader but also material batik trader.

So did batik production in Pekalongan, It was spread to other regions: Buaran, and Kedungwuni, Wiradesa,etc. Batik production of those areas was not too long from which on other cities. It was about 19th centuries. Meanwhile, Yogyakarta and Solo batik development and other regions had a close relation to historical development of Yogya and Solo kingdom.After the end of Diponegoro’s fight, the family of kingdom moved on out of Yogya – because of their unwilling to cooperate with the Dutch colonial- and batik had become popular and become a livelihood then. In this new region, the design had been adjusted with surrounding enviroment.

By considering its process and design, pekalongan batik was fully influenced by batik of demak. In the beginning of 20th centuries, the popular batik process was handwritten batik. Its unbleached plain cloth was made of both domestic and import product. After World War I, stamp batik and the use of foreign drugs –made of Germany and England- had just been known.

In the beginning of 20th centuries, the weaving, that produced a cummerbund whose thread twined in a simple way, were found in Pekajangan for the first time. A few years later, batik has just been known. It was processed by the employees working in weaving sector. Batik kept on developing faster than cummerbund weaving. Furthermore, most of employees of sugar factory in Wonopringgo and Tirto had ever moved on batik companies because of its higher salary.

In the end of 19th centuries, batik was known in Tegal. The material used was domestic product taken from various trees: bengkudu, nila, soga tree. For its weaving, it was self product. For the first time, the color of Tegal batik was sogan and gray babaran. Then, it was added in nila (indigo) and red-blue. In this period, Tegal batik was distributed outside such as west Java. The trader bought it on foot. Historically, it was them that present batik in Tasik and Ciamis. Besides, other new comers from central Java had participated in developing batik in this area.

In the beginning of 20th centuries, after the World War I, import unbleached plain cloth and import drug had just been known. Most of Tegal batik entrepreneurs was running out of capital. They took the basic commodity from Pekalongan on credit. And they sold it to Chinese who gave them a credit. When the economy crises occurred, the sold of Tegal batik was slowing down. It recovered from 1934 to the beginning of World War II. When Japan occupied in Indonesia, batik became sluggish anymore.

So did in Purworejo. It occurred on the same time with batik of Kebumen. Both of them came from Yogyakarta for about 21th centuries. Batik development in Purwerojo was faster than that in Kebumen. While for its production, it had the same product as Yogyakarta and Banyumas.

In Bayat, village located in the foot of Merapi Mountain, about 21 km in the east of Klaten, batik had been known for a long time ago. Surely, its history had a close relation with Surakarta palace. In Kebumen, batik had been existed for about 19th centuries. It was presented by Jogja visitors in the case of Islamic spreading. The well-known figure was Penghulu, Islamic leader, Nusjav. It was him who developed batik in Kebumen and his first settle was located in the East of Lukolo River. His heritage was a mosque. The first batik process in this town was called “Teng abang or Blambangan”.

Finally, the last process was made in Banyumas or Solo. Concerning for its pattern, it was used a turmeric whose stamp made of wooden. While the patterns were trees and kind of birds. Other material used was bengkudu tree, kemudu and nila tom.

The use of import drugs had been known around 1920. It was presented by BRI employee. For spending less time, he left finally his self product. The use of stamp had been known in 1930 presented by Purnomo from Yogyakarta. Batik regions in Kebumen were Watugarut, Tanurekso etc.

By regarding current heritages and the last history, it might be consider that batik had been known since Tarumanegara period in Tasikmalaya. One of them was tarum tree. It was served as batik process. Remain village for making batik today were Wurug, Sukapura, Mangunraja, Maronjaya and Tasikmalaya city. For a long time ago, the most crowded place was Sukapura village and Indihiang -situated on the border of Tasikmalaya city- In 18th and 19th centuries, the war of central Java kingdom occurred. It led most of the inhabitants of Tegal, Pekalongan, Banyumas and Kudus wandering to west regions and lived in Ciamis and Tasik. Most of them were batik entrepreneurs and they ran batik trade there. Hence, it was known batik production using Soga which came from central Java. Current batik production in Tasikmalaya was batik combination from Pekalongan, Tegal, Banyumas and Kudus. It had various design and color.

In Ciamis, batik had been known in 19th centuries, after Diponegoro War. It was because of Diponegoro’s companion role. They had presented it and made it as a livelihood. The material used for its cloth was self weaving. For painting, it made of tree such as bengkudu and tom tree. For the pattern, it was a combination of central Java batik and local product especially garutan pattern and color. Until the 20th centuries, batik production in Ciamis had developed step by step from self demands to market distribution.

In Cirebon, the origin of batik came from Kanoman, Kasepuhan, and Keprabonan. It had the same story as Yogyakarta and Solo Batik. However, its specific feature was flora and fauna picture. There was also beach pattern, influenced by China mind and Garuda bird, influenced by Yogya and Solo batik.

Like other regions, in Jakarta, batik had been known in 19th centuries, presented by central Java visitors. The outstanding batik area in Jakarta were Karet, Ilir and Udik dam, Kebayoran lama, Mampang prapatan as well as Tebet. Before World War I, Jakarta, especially fish market Harbor, had become interregional shopping center in Indonesia. After World War I, when stamp batik had just been known, batik production increased and batik traders looked for a new area whereas the leading textile and batik area in Jakarta were Tanah Abang (the most famous than others), Jatinegara and Jakarta city. Local batik production from Solo, Yogya, Banyumas, Ponorogo, Tulungagung, Pekalongan, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis and Cirebon gathered in Tanah abang and it was sent to other region out of Java. Compared to Chinese and Arabian batik traders, Indonesia was less than others. Based on this fact, they had an initiative to establish Batik Company in Tanah abang, Jakarta.

After Word War I, batik entrepreneur was Chinese whose employee came from Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo as well as local labor. Next, after considering its process, the origin inhabitant set up batik Company whose pattern and process were adjusted by Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo, and Banyumas batik. The batik commodity used was self weaving product as well as its drugs, made of bengkudu, wooden, turmeric etc. The basic cambric became popular and its market distribution was in Tanah Abang market and surrounding. Furthermore, batik spread out in many part of the cities: Padang, west Sumatera, and other regions out of Java.

By the end of World War I, West Sumatera was one of the customers of batik from Pekalongan, Solo and Yogya. However, Hand weaving- Silungkang and plekat weaving- existed first than others.

After Japan occupation, there was lack of batik stock in Padang whereas the demands keep on increasing from day to day. The customer ordered it to their daily activities. It caused by a serious conflict between Sumatera and Java as well as Dutch blockades. Related to this matter, batik traders therefore tried to produce their own batik. By having self product and implementing sophisticated research of batik from out of Java, they took the pattern and applied in wooden as stamp tool. Batik drug used was self product made of various plants: bengkudu, turmeric, gambier, resin etc. White background had taken from the former/second hand one and hand weaving product.

In 1946, the first company appeared was in Sampan region, Padang pariaman: Bagindo Idris, Sidi, Ali, Sidi Zokaria, Sutan Salim, Sutan Syamsudin and Payakumbuh. In 1948, it was appeared Sir Waslim (from Pekalongan) and Sutan Rajab. In 1949 most of them set up Batik Company using the material made in Singapore through Padang and Pekanbaru harbor. After having open cooperation with Java, they couldn’t even run their business. Most of Padang batik had a black, yellow, red and purple color. They used Banyumasan, Indramayu, Solo and Yogya pattern. Nowadays, the pattern is better than before. However, it is much worse than that of Java. The stamp tool used is made of metal and most of its productions are sarong.

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Pekalongan Batik, History and Progress

On the border of North Java, batik is called “batik pesisiran”. Historically, there are three types of batik pekalongan. The first ones, is local batik. It is made by using local style. The pattern doesn’t refer to princes’ rule, but it takes market progress by using the product sold out quickly.

The second one is “batik encim”. It is made in China, and can be defined in 3 categories. The pattern is based on “buketan accessories,” china culture, and various paintings. The third one is “batik londo” made in Holland whose accessories were a Dutch culture

These tree batiks are improved each other and it has their own customer. Among them, it is admitted that local batik is oldest even though it is unknown when and who the batik maker is. Generally it had existed before China and Dutch trader came. The glory period of pekalongan batik occurred around 1850: Elyza Van Zuylen product, Oey Soen King, until by the time of World War II, the product of Mrs. Sastromulyono was also known.Pekalongan batik that had been produced in 1942-1945 appeared after World War II when Japan occupied Indonesia. Thus, Indonesia trade in cooperation with Dutch was over. So did unbleached plain cloth and dye trade. It led the lack of supply. If any, the price was too expensive. In this period, the batik producer made a new one. It was more sophisticated and made by implementing “Padat Karya system (Work full system). The purpose was to make slower and not lose of employees. Unexpectedly, it brought a great impact. Batik Java Hokokai was known then.

1980- 1997 was a critical situation, then they produced silk batik and batik recovered step by step and the customer increased their demands. In 1999, they applied batik in wholesale. It had an intention to access bigger market and to make closer to the customer as well as create pekalongan become “kota batik or batik city”. Nowadays, there are around 4 wholesale in Pekalongan: Setono, Gamer, MM, Pantura.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Batik Indonesia History

Batik today seems to be closely related to the island of Java in Indonesia, who over centuries, been developing the ancient art form to its present day art form as the highly developed intricate batik.

There are two schools of scholars who believe on how history of batik in Java. Some say that batik was originally reserved as an art form for Javanese royalty, where the traditional skills were particularly well developed over hundreds of years in Central Java around Yogyakarta and Solo under the patronage of the Sultan and his court.

Princesses and noble women may have provided the inspiration for the highly refined designs evident in traditional patterns. Designs were copies and in some cases the cloths could only be used by certain people or on certain occasions. And each royal family had their own prescribed designs.
Other scholars disagree that batik was only reserved for the royalties.

According to them, batik was prevelant even to the common folk. It was regarded an important part of a young ladies accomplishment that she be capable of being able to skillfully hand draw batik using the canting (the pen-like instrument used to apply wax to the cloth). Apparently, this skill was as important as cookery and other household chores of the Javanese women.

And true to the form, the people themselves too only wear certain forms of batik motifs for different functions. For example, a certain motif is used during the death (mourn) and another motif is used for when a child is born or when getting married (happy occasions).

Certain areas in Java are known for a predominance of certain designs. Central Javanese designs are influenced by traditional patterns and colors. Batik from the north coast of Java, near Pekalongan and Cirebon, have been greatly influenced by Chinese culture and effect brighter colors and more intricate flower and cloud designs.

The uniqueness of the Indonesian batik is just like all their other arts which are very intricate. This maybe a little difficult to be appreciated by the modern society at first glance. But, when the technique and refinement of Indonesian batik is known, most people will definitely give a second look to it, and more so fall in love (without turning back).

The effort put into their batik are so much more compared to other countries. Sometimes, it requires a few artisans working on it for months.
If there is one country that batik is still commonly found, it has to be Indonesia, as this art form is still very apparent there today. Many of the folks there wear batik in their everyday life from sarungs and even in shirts – both formal and informal. And what makes Indonesia unique is that the folks there are very proud of their tradition, just like how the Thais are proud and synonymous to their Thai silks.

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Batik History

It has a close relation with Majapahit Kingdom development and Islamic spreading in java. In many cases, most of batik development occurred in Mataram period, Solo and Yogyakarta Kingdom. Therefore, it has been known since the period of Majapahit Kingdom and it keep on improving for the next kings.

Meanwhile, in the end of 18th centuries or in the beginning of 19th centuries, batik has been dominated by Indonesian people, especially by Javanese. In the beginning of 20th centuries, they produced handwritten batik while had just been known in 1920. Related to Islamic spreading, most of the batik shopping center was located in Islamic regions and it was used to struggle against the Dutch economy.
Batik art is a painting art on the material. It had a function to be a costume worn by the princes in the past. For the first time, it has just been produced in the palace area and it was worn by the prince, his family and his companions. Then, it was brought and processed outside because many of the companions lived out of the palace area. Not long afterward, it was imitated by the closest people and then it became a livelihood for many housewives to spend their leisure time. Finally, batik was not only worn by prince and his family but also for common people, both man and woman. Furthermore, the batik material is made by weaving. For the dye material, it came from Indonesian natural plants such as: Bengkudu tree, tinggi, soga and nila. The soda material made of ash soda while its salt made of mud.

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