Through my travels in Asia mostly, I’ve often been brought to factories and wholesale show houses, whether willingly or unwillingly, I was never really was engaged with what the products were.
But during this trip to yogyakarta, I heard that we were able to make our own batik, the idea really interest me. I am a huge fan of craft and DIY workshops especially those which are fashion related.
Batik Winotosastro is one of the few places that first opened up their factories to educate people to the traditional batik making. Depending on the time you have available, they offer a 3 hour workshop to a 3 to 6 day workshop that goes from the basics to the elaborate patterns and colours.
Because I only booked 4 days in Yogyakarta I only had very little time for this, it wasn’t planned into my itinerary. I took the 3 hour class for the basic Batik class. We were lucky that with an exception of 2 other german tourist, we were the only ones there. So we were allowed to take our time to choose our designs and add our own.
The first step was to trace your pattern lightly on your cotton, if its a whole several meters imagine how long this would take!! I chose a simple traditional flower pattern as a centre piece. The place was stuffy and warm, even though there was fans blasting from the high ceiling , the melting pots of warm wax and heating metal wax stamps made the whole place warm.
After our tracings were done we proceeded to attempt to draw our artwork over our pencil tracing with a hot wax pencil, I didn’t manage to take a picture because the trainee was on me like a hawk to make sure I didn’t burn my cloth or myself.
These are the wax stamps.
All meticulously handmade by a dying breed of blacksmiths specialising in batik stamps. The guy who made these is no longer on this earth, these stamps become increasingly rare and a lost trade. Every pattern in painstakingly made to make sure that if you printed them out together it could look like 1 homogeneous piece.
I had to choose a border for my piece and the one I chosen is below.
This big metal pan is boiling with a deep orange wax and some paper/fabric that doesn’t seem to burn… the stamps are placed on it to heat up and collect some wax before carefully placing it on to the fabric quickly.
I tried my hand at stamping but I realised i’m quite lame at accurately double stamping the borders. So I did the smarter thing and got the trainer to do it for me haha.
My wonderful lame attempt.
Here an elaborate piece in the midst of production. the wax covers the areas you wish to stop the dye from seeping into. If you require more colours, it basically meant that after your first dye, you have to wax all areas you didn’t want the 2nd and 3 dye colour to soak through!! Like I said traditional batik is painstakingly made so appreciate every piece you do see.
Us below with our mid finish artwork and our trainer!
As you can see here, one of the ladies working at the Batik factory waxing almost the whole fabric so that just some simple lines can be dyed in a different colour.
Below are some finished products, notice the different colours on each piece which means that for every colour the fabric had, it to go through the whole process.
After we finished our batik workshop we had a nice traditional lunch of Gudeg which is chicken cooked with young jackfruit stew, rice, egg and tempeh (fermented beans) with chilli paste.
If you’re interested in going for this batik you can check out their website here Batik Winotosastro for more info about their workshop, address and products. Workshops were very cheap costing us only about $5SGD for a 3 hour workshop.