Thursday, August 30, 2012

Batik Factory, Part 2!

Wood Block Stamping!

Most of the commercial batik fabrics that we love go through a dye process first…..are then stamped with wood blocks dipped in wax, and then over-dyed.

Where the wax is…..is where the design resists the next dye.

If you look closely you will see that the fabric already has color on it --- the wax holds THAT color in place while the background is then dyed a second time. OR ---the fabric can then be bleached to REMOVE the excess background dye for a fabric that has a white background with a colorful print design.

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Overhead and on the walls hang the myriad of designs used to stamp the fabric. some of these designs are centuries old, carved in wood. Others are more modern and made of metal, but the process is the same.

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The movement is rhythmic and fairly even. Dip the wood block in the wax. Press, pound, press, pound, press, pound….

Check this video to see the process in motion:

These are short clips because my camera battery life was in jeapardy!

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More wood blocks!

Another clip:

This fabric is dyed first, then stamped….the wax will hold the color in the shape of leaves, and the background will be bleached white again.

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And this is how it’s done, folks! From here it goes through several other processes before it finally ends up in a store near you. Honestly. I will NEVER be able to look at a piece of batik fabric and not think back to these gentle welcoming people who took us in and showed us how they work.

We also saw how they protected their motorbikes:

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Batik bike covers! LOL!

By the time this posts, we will be somewhere over the ocean on our way to Los Angeles.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts to get us home safe!


  1. amazing....I just went to my stash and pulled out some batiks that I have (and never use) to look at the designs and thought about how it started out in a place like this!! I have so enjoyed this weeks travels with you Bonnie and all your travel partners! What an amazing time this was for all of us!!

  2. Anonymous3:11 PM EDT

    this was absolutely amazing and thank you so much for posting it. I was referred to your books and website by a friend who saw my quilts I have been making for friends from their deceased loved ones (mostly shirts) clothing. I have always loved the batiks and have a newfound appreciation for them. Thanks so much for sharing and I will be looking for your Scraps/Shirtails books soon. Blessings on your trip home! Donna Frunzi (donna.quiltlover@gmail.com)

  3. This has been unbelievably educational as well as heart-warming. I always look at batiks and think about the souls who made them.

  4. These clips are great, thanks for taking the time to post them. I actually own a block from batique printing... I found them at a little home dec boutique in New Jersey. She had about 6 of them and they still smaller strongly of the wax. I bought one and it hangs on my wall as art. I love it!

  5. The motor-bike covers just make me smile! thanks for sharing so much of your trip!

  6. awesome and great bike covers

  7. OMG I have some Very precious batiks!!! I may never be able to use them! That is a lot of work for a fabric I'm going to cut into small pieces.....

  8. Anonymous6:50 PM EDT

    Bonnie, You are brave as well as artistic & hardworking! Thanks so much for taking me on a trip I could never have done, on my own. You are an inspiration.

  9. Sigh...not hard to believe how much work goes into those beautiful batiks.

  10. It is wonderful how much hand work goes into the fabric. Its a complement to all the hand work we do to make our quilts. Kindred spirits.

  11. Cindy, The Purple Quilter9:32 PM EDT

    Amazing! I have learned so much from your posts. Thanks for being such an awesome traveling teacher! :)

  12. Fascinating!
    Love the bike covers--wonder if I could make one for my brother's Harley. : )

  13. Anonymous3:47 PM EDT

    I appreciated your posts from beautiful Bali. Of special interest was the batik factory artists. You are right, seeing gives me a much deeper knowledge of their talents and adds to my love of their fabrics. Amen to your editorial re: love of our fellow man.


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