A batik artist drawing the outlines of patterns
by applying molten wax onto the cloth
Colorful dyes being painted onto the fabric by another batik artist
Thicker brushes are used to applied the same colorful dyes
into the background sections of the designs
On the first day that my German friend and I met up in South East Asia, she told me of her plan to get at least one batik shirt during her visit. Hearing of this, my mother suggested that she focus on making batik purchases in Yogyakarta since it -- together with nearby Solo (AKA Surakarta) -- are considered to be the major historic centres of this traditional decorative art. And we did spend time browsing in a few batik shops during our sojourn in that Central Javanese city.
At a batik shop with a factory in the back, my German friend purchased a batik shirt made of cotton and featuring a traditional Javanese print design. And at another batik shop with a factory in the back, this time in Penang, she bought a very different style batik blouse: this one featuring hand-drawn designs and dyed with far brighter colors than those found over in Indonesia.
Venturing first into the factory part of the Penang Batik Factory, we got to see several batik artists at work on hand-drawn and -painted pieces as well as craftsmen going about block-printing other pieces of batik. Watching the batik being created, particularly the hand-drawn and-painted versions, seemed rather magical to us even while all that work really did seem pretty run of the mill for the artists we saw going about their business rather nonchalantly as well as surprisingly swiftly.
And for those who think batik's just for tourists: my father actually has a bunch of batik shirts which he happily wears to formal functions. Especially for those Malaysian men who get all hot and bothered when asked to wear Western-style suits and ties, it's quite the boon that batik lounge shirts qualify as formal wear in the eyes of many and thus are considered suitable attire for such as formal dinners! ;b