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Tuesday 20 March 2012


BATIK of Javanese [Indonesian] origin is melted wax applied to cotton cloth.

In Yogyakarta, I watched fascinated as traditional designs were traced with great skill and fluidity - wherever the wax seeps through, the dye does not penetrate.  The cloth is dipped in dye several times then is submerged in a solvent that dissolves the wax. 

Traditional dyes are Black walnut, Bloodroot, Brazilin, Cochineal, Cudbear, Cutch, Fustic, Henna, Indigo, Madder, Saffron, Turmeric and Tyrian purple.
Young noblemen from Solo and Yogyakarta, some of whom are wearing parang rusak designs [Photo: 1934]

Some motifs denote rank and were exclusive to royal houses or sultanates, many patterns have been influenced by European or Japanese designs, the colours are ravishing – sometimes bright red, delicate pinks or blues. 

My favourites are the browns and dark blue patterns with flowers, leaves, sometimes butterflies – these have no equal.

Batik began to be used for tailored garments in the 19th century, notably for pyjama trousers for European men, and less commonly, sleeping trousers for boys. These three pairs date from the early 20th century.

A batik background was inspiration for my Rice fabric [see blog post of Dec 28, 2011] 
The Developed Eye: John Stefanidis Fabrics: RICE

This bedroom was planned around a collection of batiks:


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