Batik in Yogya

April 4, 2015

After the palace tour me and Olivia had one day left in Yogya before we would part ways and we had decided to spend it doing a course in batik painting. A couple of days earlier one of the guys working at Easy Going, the restaurant we frequented, had asked us to check his English in a document he was writing. We were happy to help and while reading it we realised it was information on a batik course he was holding. It sounded really interesting so we talked to him about it and it turned out him and his friend were just about to start the business and this was his final project in uni. We agreed to be their first customers and to meet outside Easy Going in two days where we would be able to get a becak and follow him on his bike out to their studio.

The studio was in a nice neighbourhood on the outskirts of Yogyakarta and we got to ride through beautiful country scenery on the way there. When we got there we were greeted by the friend and his Japanese wife. They lived just next to the studio and so did his parents whom we also met. We started with a coffee and a chat about the day and his mother brought us delicious Indonesian fried snacks.

The aim of the day was for us to create our own batik t-shirts. We started with sketching up a motive. We looked through lots of books with batik and other designs from Asia for inspiration.

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After drawing our motive on paper it was time to transfer it to a t-shirt. We got the guys to help us with this as we weren’t used to drawing on fabric and didn’t want to mess the t-shirts up.

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It took us pretty long to come up with motives and draw them, so when we were finished we went for lunch. The guys drove us on their scooters to a warung nearby where we had a tasty soto ayam, chicken soup.

When we got back we started with the actual batik technique. The first part is drawing lines with wax onto the fabric. The wax is melted in a pan and then drawn onto the fabric with this “funnel pen”. We filled in the drawings on our t-shirts with wax best we could, it was pretty hard to get the right amount of wax and do straight lines.

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Then we moved onto colouring. We were told there were different colouring methods and what we were gonna do was paint our t-shirts with brushes. You fill in the areas between the wax and the wax keeps the colours from spreading. Everything was taking us pretty long so we had some help with the colouring to speed up the process.

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When we were done the t-shirts were dipped in a liquid to set the colours and then left to dry for a bit. After that they were washed again to remove the wax and then again hung to dry. We were both pretty happy with the final results considering how hard they had been for us to create.

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When the t-shirts were dry it was pretty late and we were ready to go back. We got a lift back to Easy Going on their scooters. It was a great day and I would really recommend doing a class with these guys, hopefully they’ll have their company setup soon with more info online.

Later in the evening we went out for a couple of drinks at a bar near our hotel where a band was playing. It was a nice last night in Yogya and with Olivia. The next day I left for Bali and Olivia started her trip back to the UK.

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