Batik is a wax-resist dyeing craft with its roots in Indonesia, as seen from a traditional lens, is a familiar art form to many..
Batik screen printing is a craft that also started in Indonesia only a few years ago.
If batik stands for a continuation of a heritage craft, and screen printing is a modern craft – then would batik screen printing still be considered as an artisan craft?
Batik screen printing creates more consistency in the printing that is why we see batik screen printing as an innovation that would sustain the traditional craft and make it more accessible to the larger market.
In turn, this would create more demand in the industry, and allow for the younger generation to see batik as a business that could sustain their livelihood.
The designs begin as a printed vector transferred onto a plastic film.
The artisans then take an organza screen built by hand, soak it in an emulsion, and bring it into the dark room where a focused light will transfer the design onto the screen – a process likened to developing film.
Using a trade secret recipe of cool wax, trained artisans will swipe the screen back and forth. It is a laborious group effort that’s often done by 3-4 artisans.
The batik screen printed fabric is then left overnight to dry, sometimes even a day or two longer depending on the motif.
The dyes are made by hand and the time it takes varies depending on the shade needed.
The cloth is then imbued in a dye bath and hung to dry.
This process of dyeing and drying is repeated until the shade of the fabric matches its intended hue. As the cloth is dipped into a pot of boiling water, the wax peels off to reveal the batik designs. The beauty is in this process of uncovering what was there to begin with.
The use of stencils was introduced in 1939 in Kelantan by Mohammad Yusof Bin Hj. Che’ Su and Mohammad Daud Bin Hj. Che’ Su. This type of Batik is faster and easier to do but one must have a keen eye so that the patterns match.
It is hand screen printing onto fabric to create a traditional batik look. Cheaper than real batik; priced for the working person. It is still a lot of hand work compared to machine printing, but not batik because no wax was used in the process.