DIY Batik For Just RM10! @ Batik Canting, Fahrenheit 88 Kuala Lumpur

Originally from Indonesia, batik is an ancient textile art that involves dyeing cloth with a wax-resist technique. It also refers to the textile itself, which often features beautiful patterns and motifs which differ from region to region.

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Malaysian batik is markedly different from its Indonesian counterpart; with larger, simpler patterns and a preference for floral motifs as opposed to the Javanese love for geometry. Malaysian batik is also brighter and more vibrant in colour than the deep, earthy hues of Javanese batik.

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N and I were wandering around Fahrenheit 88 when we stumbled across a shop called Batik Canting, which sells batik clothing, souvenirs, paintings and other paraphernalia. They also had DIY batik for just RM10 – where you can paint your own batik and bring it home. Thinking it would be much more fun than just window shopping, we signed up for the session. By session I mean it was just the two of us at a small table in the corner.

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Choices were limited (we weren’t expecting much since it was only RM10). N ended up picking a flower, while I went with my favourite – cats. The materials were provided: painting palette, brushes, and dyes in the three primary colours.

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For professionals and hobbyists, I think you can also buy (?) the dyes at the shop.

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Now, I think I’m a decent artist – I used to draw manga to sell in high school (and yes, people actually bought them, lol). But when it comes to colour, I am terrible. Many a time have I created a nice portrait/drawing and what not and completely ruined it after attempting to add colour. This was evident when I tried to mix the primary dyes to create certain shades – everything turned out blue or red, lmfao.

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N, however, exhibited a talent for shading and colouring. His flower boasted a vibrant violet and pink hue which was not by luck but careful mixing.

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Topping it off with a teal background. Notice the ‘shading’ in the petals?

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And voila. Mine looks like it was done by a 6-year-old. But hey, we had fun.

PS: I showed these to my mom asking her to guess who did which. She immediately knew the cat one was mine. Why? “You suck at colouring.” Mom knows best.

BATIK CANTING 

2nd floor, Fahrenheit 88, 179, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

 

Piala Seri Endon 2016: Malaysia’s Premiere Batik Contest

What is Batik? If you’ve traveled around South East Asia, chances are you have seen it in souvenir or clothing shops.

Batik refers to a technique of wax-resist dyeing cloth to make beautiful, often intricate patterns and figures. Although several cultures around the world are known for it, few are as popular as Indonesia (Javanese batik, in particular, is famed for its beauty and craftsmanship).

Meanwhile in neighbouring Malaysia, batik has been recorded in history as early as the 17th century. It has evolved into its own, distinct art form, making waves in the international fashion/fabric industry.

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The Piala Seri Endon is a nationwide Batik contest for aspiring batik designers and blooming talents. It was initiated by the late Tun Endon Mahmood, wife of a former Malaysian prime minister. This marks the 13th year since its inception, but the entries keep coming.

At the press conference to launch PSE, I got to see last year’s winning entries from three different categories: Clothing, soft furnishing (curtains, pillow cases, sofa covers, etc) and handicrafts (toys, book covers, wallets, etc). Here are some examples of the work!

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Batik predominantly features patterns and flowers, but it can be applied to anything (animal images like zebras, for instance) as long as the wax-dye technique is used.

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Winner of last year’s Soft Furnishing category. Now that would be something I’d like in my living room!

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Fashion category winners.

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Sequins on flowy batik material. This is so commercially viable, I can see Datins ordering it for their functions and stuff.

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I went gaga over the Handicraft winners. I mean, who wouldn’t want a kewl notebook like the one at the bottom to tote around and show off to your friends?

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Think you have what it takes to be Malaysia’s  top Batik designer? If you’re Malaysian and over 18 years old, you too can try out for the title and prize money (a cool RM30,000!). Download the form at penyayang.org.my!

Batik Making Centre, Denpasar, Bali

After our Barong dance show in the morning, Toto took us to a Batik making factory in Denpasar. Bali being a tourist island, they have clusters of these shops in certain areas. This spot has all the batik centres, while another has wood craft, silver and gold. They’re obviously tourist traps, because the prices are way over. Outside the souvenir shop, some staff members demonstrate the process of batik making.

Batik is a traditional cloth made from wax-resist dyeing technique. (Pic) The staff use hot wax pens to draw out the patterns. They didn’t need corrections, everything was done in one stroke. So wow. The air was pungent with the smell of steel shavings and wax, which hurt my teeth and nostrils lol.

An old-school weaving press. Each line of the batik is woven painstakingly. Line by line. A cloth might take days to finish. Which is also why you have such beautiful, intricate detail, and the reason why batik is so expensive.

Upstairs was a gallery for batik paintings. We weren’t allowed pictures, but I managed to sneak in a few…

Familiar? This is a colourful depiction of the Barong, the mythical lion in Balinese culture and which we saw at the dance that morning.

Even in the batik paintings, elements of Balinese culture which is strongly influenced by Hinduism is present.

Some of the paintings were pretty affordable, but mum figured it would be difficult to stuff it in our luggage lol.

Til next post!