Word About Batik

word about batikBatik is a very ancient art form using colorful dyes and hot wax on fiber/fabric.

Why Batik Is So Unique

tools files smallBatik is crafted fabrics that needs to undergo to dedicate

How To Create Batik Arts

how to create batik artThe batik process explained in simple terms:

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Artist Statement
With the recent economic "waking up" of global emerging markets, it would only be logical that

other social segments of such markets would enjoy a revival of sort as well, and art forms of many kinds are no exception to this newfound revival.

An artist from such an emerging market is Rita and she creates within an art media which is some 2000 years old and has been practiced in our western hemisphere only sparingly, partially due to its complexity, very time consuming and hot, messy application during the process of creating this form of art. Most everyone is familiar with this art when associated with linen and clothing, but less knowledgeable as to hanging art decorating walls and framed artwork.

This art media, I am referring to, is BATIK. The art of Batik follows several styles and forms and in accordance to their global regions of their genetical origin. There is the Chinese Batik, African Batik, Ukraine Batik and Batik styles from the Americas and the Caribbean Island.cAll have the same basis and use the same or similar mixed materials to create this art, but it's the application process and its higher complexity of such application, which differs the regional labeling.

The most detailed and highest resolution (at least in my humble opinion) of this most beautiful Batik art form, is the Java style Batik, not yet mentioned and the form of Batik Art which Rita creates. “Things to do in the neighborhood” during my childhood, has turned into some 40 years of creations and enhancement of one’s surroundings.

The extra efforts, details and time consumption applied to this style of Batik Art is indisputably recognized by its final outcome of colors so vibrant and details of work so prevalent, the viewer could easily see it as "alive" if not at least visually most penetrating.

Perhaps this would be the right moment to describe this elusive art form and its method of application, and from experiences on the art show circle, I have encountered that even judges in juried competition have very limited knowledge as to the methods applied and efforts behind this form of art. However, whenever I do invite such judges and make a presentation as to the creation of my Batik Art, a sense a renewed appreciation of this dying media, or the acceptance of the proper version thereof.

I believe creating art is more than just the final outcome of such creations but some emphasize should be given as to how the artist is getting there.

The word "batik" is roughly translated as "wax painting". As an art painter takes his brush of colors to create, a batik artist draws with the waxes as to protect an area from a certain color during the dye dip process. Batik is done on either silk or cotton fabrics and applied as if such is a canvass, although the Java style of batik is mostly on cotton.

With its smooth and tight texture, cotton translates into a higher resolution than the much looser and lighter silk fabric. Due to the process and method of batik, an authentic batik can be viewed on either side of the fabric, thus many batik arts are mounted between glass and matted as to show both sides, thus “Two Arts in One”. Several commercial work is hanging from the ceiling in Lobbies of office buildings and allowing walkers below to view the same art coming and going.

In continuing demonstration, the batik artist, after the original pencil drawing onto the fabric, uses a "canting' tool to trace in details what the pencil drawing shows. The "canting" tool (imagine a small handheld funnel) is filled with a certain mixture of wax (Bee/Paraffin) and kept at a certain temperature as to keep it in liquid form, but still pasty. This wax will be applied to the fabric and its proper temperature will allow it to penetrate the fabric. The wax, upon cooling and drying, will seal the fabric beneath it, just like a cocoon. The artist having covered all area of the Batik with wax BUT, with the EXCEPTION for area to which a chosen color will be allowed, will then dip the fabric with the applied wax into the color dye chosen for the area not protected by the wax process. In most cases the artist would start with the lighter colors. After this several minute of Dye bath, the fabric is pulled and hung to drip and dry. Once the just applied color is totally dry, the artist will boil the fabric as to remove the wax entirely from the fabric. By the way, the removed wax is subsequently scooped up from the water, as it floats, and recycled into further use. The second step is to repeat the first step and so forth and for each layer of color designated for the Batik in creation. During the washing cycle of the dyed fabric a secret solution of salt and other chemical in a cold bath is applied as well during each process. This method of secrecy brings out the vibrancy of the colors.

In review and analyzing of the above description of the process to create such art work, one can quickly understand the complexity, pain striking details as well as the rather hot and uncomfortable environment the artist exposes him/herself to. The clean up process has its own challenges as well, of course.

An authentic batik is always and only an “original” piece of art, as the working with liquid wax on fabric will NEVER leave the exact duplicate like a print would, even if the design of the art is repeated on a second batik. The logic there should be obvious.

Although the above description of the method and process to create Batik Artwas kept very simple in describing same, as the actual complexity is heighten by the artist knowledge of mixing dyes to achieve certain special colors, as well as crackling effect in certain batik pieces and how it is achieved by the artist. A more in-depth presentation can only be given when Batik sample is shown in association thereto.

Thank you for your support in the arts and please ask me any questions with respect to my Art media.

Rita Wickramasinghe

About Me

Award winning artist, Rita Wickramasinghe has created Batik Wall Art for over 35 years. Currently living in Florida, she brought this 3000 year old art to the United States several years ago from her home country of Sri Lanka.

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With the recent economic "waking up" of global emerging markets ,it would only be logical that social segments .....

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Friday, 21 September 2018 08:06