Natural dyes made from plant materials were used to create beautiful colors for hundreds of years before chemical dyes were invented in the late 19th century. Textiles created around the world centuries ago still retain their beautiful and NATURAL colors. Batik is is one of several resist techniques also used for centuries to create patterns on fabric.

Batik is made by applying wax to fabric to create a pattern. After applying the wax, the fabric is dyed and when the wax is removed the pattern remains.

There are two ways to make batik. One is hand drawn (“tulis”) using a tool called a “canting” (pron. “chanting”) made of bamboo and copper. The melted wax is scooped into the copper cup which has a tiny hole like a pen with which the wax is drawn onto the fabric. Hand drawn batik is traditionally made by women.

The other method of making batik is by stamping – or cap (pron. chop) with a bronze & copper stamp using a special mixture of melted wax. Traditionally, men do stamp batik.

A collection of more than 150 old batik stamps gathered from the batik centers on Java is used to create our batik. These were found in markets or in old boxes in the closets of families whose grand or great-grandfathers made batik. Throughout the 20th century the production of hand made batik declined and new generations went into other kinds of work.

Although the method of making batik and natural dyes are “traditional” our  designs  are contemporary. Some of our old batik stamps made during the 1920’s – 30’s and after WWII into the 50’s, are very “modern” motifs. We also have a small number of stamps that were made during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during WWII, that are recognized as traditional Japanese motifs. We also designs new stamps made by craftsmen using copper and bronze and  hand carved wood.

Indigo has been used for hundreds – maybe thousands – of years to produce the famous and beloved indigo blue.

It grows in many parts of the world. There are different species suitable to varying climates. Our indigo  dye is made in the traditional way from the leaves – a time consuming process. No pre-made dye is used. From harvesting the leaves to having a vat of indigo dye ready to use takes 2-4 weeks.

The batik fabrics are immersed in the dye vat up to 28 times to achieve the dark indigo color. For browns, rust, yellow, other natural dye materials are used including wood, leaves, and bark.

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.”

— Albert Einstein

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