Saturday, December 14, 2013


Jogjakarta and its sister city Surakarta, known as Solo, are the centers of Indonesian batik process. Some batik is still handmade and dyed, with wax used to resist colors. It's similar to the way Ukrainian Easter eggs are made.

Joyce from Shanghai and I squeezed in an hour to learn how batik is made and create our own souvenirs (cost: 50,000 rupiah or about $4.50). The last time I made batik was summer camp.
The factory has hundreds of stamps. They're used to apply wax.

We selected a border and the stamps, and then pressed wax onto white fabric. This man pressed a second time, to improve our work.

This is Joyce's.

Once the wax is applied, the fabric is dipped in dye, often multiple times. We only had time for one color (blue) plus white.

After dying, the fabric is boiled to remove the wax, which is reused.
Here a few workers are painstakingly applying wax for detail.

The ends are sewn on an old Chinese Butterfly sewing machine. Then the fabric is ironed and placed in a gift bag. All in about 90 minutes.

Note that the accent in "batik" is on the first syllable, not the way Americans pronounce it. BAH-tik, not buh-TEAK.

Bonus points if you spot the error in my batik.