Learning Batik in Bali

by Markita Hall-Gumble

I spent almost 4 weeks in Bali.  I had so many textile experiences while there, including 3 different batik classes. First, what is batik?  In a simple answer, batik is a form of printing on fabric using wax as a resist.  Batik has a rich history and it’s origins are over 2000 years old.  The batik guild is an excellent source for the history of this fabric.
 Batik Guild

My first class was in a small family compound where I chose a design that had been drawn in pencil on a cotton square.  Then I practiced on a blank piece using a tjanting.  You dip the cup part in hot wax, shake off excess and draw the design with the hot wax.  The artisans use a tjanting with a small opening the size of a needle.   My tour guide, Anwar made a couple of reels of me in my class.  It was pouring rain, and I was the only student.  They brought me a delicious snack for tea time as it is custom in Bali. See more in this very short video.
Designing Batik

After I finished the wax, the artisan “fixed” any spots that the wax didn’t seal completely on the front and back of the piece.  Then I painted the sections with a gritty paint that didn’t match the final colors on the color wheel they showed me. The next step was to pour what they told me was hydrochloric acid, maybe that was lost in translation. Anyway, the gentleman did that step and the true colors emerged. He also washed the piece in boiling water to remove the wax. See more in this short video. Dying Batik


We came to pick up the final piece the next day. The dots are where I dropped wax off of the tool accidentally 🙂

The video in the link below shows an artisan using a stamp called a tjap, pronounced ‘chop’ and explains the process.  Bali Batik and Natural Dye

by Markita Hall-Gumble

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