Batik is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique (wikipedia). At the beginning, batik was known as an expensive item that only worn by the royal families and wealthy individuals. But now, batik is belonged to all classes and easily obtained. Due to advanced technology development, there are some techniques of batik with lower cost. Beside the hand-drawn batik, there are cheaper batik that created using screen-printing techniques and stamp-printing techniques.
In the screen-printing techniques, the pattern of batik has been printed on the top of the screen. The process can be done quickly and in large quantities, so the cost of production and selling price becomes cheaper.
While the stamp-printing technique is still using the method used in hand-drawn batik. It is using the hot wax named “malam” which is stamped on the cloth. Solo and Pekalongan in Central Java are the center of stamp batik production of Indonesia. From these cities, the batik are spreaded to some markets in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Makassar, Medan and Bali.
Producing the stamp batik requires a diligence and thoroughness. The process cannot be done quickly. There are stages that must be passed using certain tools to produce a good batik.
The first is design, of course. This design is used as a reference on coloring and as a pattern in making the stamp. The stamping process performed on a special table covered with plastic, wet foam, and some sort of papers. Other equipment is a griddle made of copper with the wax on it. The griddle is superimposed on top of the stove to melt the wax.
Once everything is ready, the cloth laid out on table. The stamp that has been dipped into liquid wax, then stamped into the cloth. Once done, replaced the cloth with a new one and do the same process again until the last sheet of cloth.
The next step is coloring. The stamped cloths are dipped into a bath containing a liquid dye. Soak and stir the cloth until the color permeates in it. After that, aerated the cloth to dry.
Sometimes, this cloth still needs to be processed again. Its function is to fill the area that will be preserved color. The stamping and coloring the cloth is the same as the previous processes.
The next is removing the existing wax previously stamped. In Javanese terminology, this process named “Nglorod.” This is dipping the cloth and stirred in boiling water to facilitate the wax off. After that, the cloth thoroughly washed and dried. Finally, the process was over and batik is ready to use.
The pictures above were shot at two workshops in Jogja and Solo. Unfortunately, I don’t have any picture about process of Nglorod. I apologize that cannot provide the complete pictures.