Saturday, 3 March 2012

Batik workshop

Last Sunday Topsi organized some special activities since we had a special visitor: Hanna, with whom we had studied in Freiburg: One of the acitivites was a Batik workshop!

Batik is a cloth manually dyed/painted using wax-resist technique. It is very important for ceremonial costumes in Indonesia. In the past, the patterns in your batik could tell your status in society. Thailand does not share the long tradition in batik of Indonesia, but this art has been somewhat incorporated at least in the southern culture. I have seen quite a few Thai governmental and private organizations using Batik in their uniforms.

Our workshop instructor was Pi-Dam, a friend of Topsi’s and new friend to me in Ta Chatchai. She is the batik artist at her family’s atelier.

Sketching supervised by Pi-Dam. She was so patient!


We started by sketching our drawings on a framed piece of cloth. Then we used a fountain pen filled with wax for the actual drawing. Next comes the painting. It’s amazing how the ink stops from spreading through the cloth surface exactly at the waxed drawing contours.

The wax-resist drawing


Not the final result yet...but almost


At this point, the cloth should dry and will receive some chemicals to retain the ink. The final step is to wash it in boiling water to remove the wax. Et voilĂ !

The final result: the colours become a little lighter, but I was still satisfied and proud of my little piece of art!


Tip: you can recognize a true Batik by looking at both surfaces of the cloth. If you can clearly see the shapes and colours on both sides, it’s a genuine batik. If the shapes and colours on the “inner” side seem worn-off, then it’s just normal dyeing, not a real batik.

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