The art of batik – creating clothes and crafts with real history

It is seen as increasingly important that we not only as ethical consumers, pay attention to the origins of the things we buy, but also the processes which have gone into them. When it comes to clothing, the method behind the making can be very fascinating indeed. This is a time of year where we often reflect on or summer fashion choices; with woven, rustic-looking dress seeing a resurgence this year. Some of these pieces are created through batik – the ancient wax dyeing of fabric.

Wax dyeing with a difference

Batik could be seen as an art dating from Egypt in the 4th Century. In this period, the wax dyeing of fabric was used as part of the mummification process. Batik also has a bold history in Java, Indonesia, as all the materials needed are native there – cotton, beeswax and plants which can yield different types of dye.  The technique of treating material in this way was then covered in Europe when Stamford Raffles., from London, became governor of Java. Text was published in 1817 where he referenced the process; and people often admired batik fabric for its fine colour and durability.

Try it yourself

batik fabric

The waxed and colourful cloth which is the result of batik can be put to a number of uses. Currently trendy in the UK is the craze for rugs and throws: adding some layers to the home interior. Batik after all provides an excellent interior feature, as it is the type of material which is eye-catching and interesting. You can also make your own batik creations, as increasing numbers of establishments are offering the material for you to buy.

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