We spent our last evening at a delightful outside dinner on the patio ---the dinner buffet included all kinds of Balinese delights from roast pig to chicken satay and jumbo grilled river prawns.
The food has been really good here –and since I am a fan of Indian food as well as Thai, Chinese and Korean ---everything worked for me! I was surprised a couple of times by things that were hotter than I thought! But that’s all good too…
I’ve been reorganizing and repacking my bags..the treasures coming home with me are being carefully placed so all will arrive home safely.
In the mean time, I wanted to finish a post I had started writing, but had got put back because of the amount of photos ---and some little videos that I had to get uploaded to Youtube.
When we think FACTORY ---we think of machines and automation and assembly lines cranking away, don’t we?
Let me tell you…I was SO humbled and awestruck at what we saw going on at the “batik factory” on our first full day in Bali that it has stuck with me this entire trip and I haven’t been able to find the right words to put this all down as to how the experience affected me.
Those who say “oh, I don’t like batik” NEED to come down here and see how it is made. It’s a painstaking artistic process.
The photo above shows 15 meter lengths hanging and drying from ceiling beams in an open air covered area. Batik fabric is done in 400 meter “runs” and then these are divided into 15 yard bolts. The red you see on the ground has been wood block wax stamped, and died in huge vats….
And this is where the youtube videos come in. The clips are short because I had limited battery charging opportunities – but it will give you an idea of how things are done.
The wood block printing is a whole separate process and I’m going to work this a bit backwards….I’ll do the wood block printing in the next post. In fact, there will likely be several chapters to this “POST” because I can’t put it all in one!
This is where they take the dyed fabric and crinkle it up in preparation for putting it down on the ground to dry. Then soda ash and other chemicals are added – and the fabric dries in the sun.
How does the batiking process happen?
This is waxed and dyed fabric going through the boiling water and wringer process to remove the wax. This is the “inside” of the “factory” and the air is heavy with the smell of dye, the smell of wax and kerosene ---and wood fire.
This young man has the job of standing over metal drums full of wax…the wax is melted in the drums by the fire blazing below. Did I mention how hot and humid it is in Bali? It is hotter IN the factory than out of it….
The ever present offering, Please watch over my equipment and keep it running!
Waxed and dyed fabrics go through a whole rinsing and dipping process.
Everywhere you look, someone is working at preparing the fabric for the next step.
Much laughing and joking about this bus load of crazy tourists who come to visit! I know for certain that I’ll never be able to look at another batik fabric without seeing these faces.
More batik workers, stirring and resting.
Rinsing vats and piles of damp fabric ready for the next step. I can still hear the sound of this water running…
See the different colors of lots of fabric in the different vats?
Now maybe you can see why I’ve had such a hard time putting this into words.
Newfound awe for the working areas.
Newfound respect for the artistry that produces such beautiful fabric with no two pieces alike EVER.
Newfound understanding for a process that is NOT automatic or machine printed, but is painstakingly done by hand…..
Just wait til you see how they do the wood block printing with wax BEFORE the over-dying starts….
If there is a jump in between posts ---just know that it is because we are traveling. It’s a 4.5 hour flight to Hong Kong where we have a 3.5 hour layover before catching our flight to Los Angeles. That’s 15 hours or so there…..it will be over 24 hours before our feet touch down on our home continent.
Farewell, Bali! We are heading home!