Sunday, September 02, 2012

16 Batikers in Bali!

Yes, my body clock is still out of whack, so I'm sending this post now! It's only 9:30pm you know?

It was our day to be students, and we were all so excited!

We’d been to the warehouse. ((And bought oodles of fabric!))

We’d seen how commercial batik fabric was made, but what about the original artistry of the “REAL” batik, the way the Balinese have made it an art form over the centuries?

I’d had batiking classes in school through my art studies, and when batik fabrics first came to the states back in the “90s” ---These were NOT like what I remembered batiking to be. Similar yes, but there were no “pictures” to them. Just textures and over dyed color.

I so distinctly remember my first classes. The smell of the wax, the tool in my hand, the tedious process of drawing, waxing, dying…over waxing dyed areas so the next dye would resist that area, and so forth, painting in areas with a brush.

Would you believe my first batik ever in school was an image of a banana split? It was a fun project. I wonder whatever happened to that – that was long before married life and children and many moves ---

We loaded up the tour bus…all of us eager to get in and DO IT! We wound through neighborhoods, through the center of towns --- all getting decorated for Thanksgiving Garungan Day, remember? We parked the bus down by the monkey forest road in Ubud – the bus was too big to go where we were going!

From here we all loaded into separate vehicles and off we went! Our driver introduced himself to us as “Chili”. As in Chili Pepper. As in SPICY HOT! And we all laughed. He asked our names, and then began to sing a silly song, including all of our names in it. SO FUN! I wish I had gotten a picture of his vehicle…the ever present offering in place right there on the dashboard. “Please keep my passengers safe from my driving!”

We arrived to find ourselves at the Widya Batik Studio! Oh Boy!

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The walls were lined with gorgeous batiks handmade by the artists who were teaching us! The method of traditional Balinese batiking was discussed and demonstrated.

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This map is a batik piece. Mawa gave us ALL paper maps and told us that Bali looks like a chicken that’s laid an egg. He is right, it does! LOL!

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We had our choice …..we could wood block stamp with wax…remember the wood blocks from the Block Stamping at the factory? These are much the same.

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More stamping blocks to choose from! Some were wood, some were metal!

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We could also choose from a multitude of designs to trace ourselves if we wanted. Sometimes just SEEING the traced designs can start your brain going on what you want to do ---and suddenly it hit me—I was going to DRAW!

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I started out freehand on a piece of paper. When things were the way I wanted them to be…I slipped the paper under my fabric and traced.


Aren’t we SO busy!!

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Here is my design on the fabric!


Our instructor showed us how the waxing is done. He dips a stylus into the melted pot of wax on the burner and carefully leaves a line of wax to cover each pencil line. It’s a painstaking process and not as easy as it looks!

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Pauline is a trooper! She got in there and got busy with it – the woman has NO FEAR! She did a great job too! For those of us who weren’t sure, the instructors sat and showed us how to do it by waxing our fabrics for us! LOL! Yeah, it was the cheaters way out –but we still learned a lot by watching!

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Here they are dipping their tools into the melted wax…this little stand is just COVERED with wax inside and out..the surround protects the other areas from getting wax where it isn’t supposed to go. I was fascinated by the ads in the local paper!

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Mary is trying the stamped designs on her fabric!

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Once the waxing is complete the dye is applied with brushes! Pick a color and get down to it! Put a color where you want a color..put another color somewhere else. After the sun dries the dye, the wax will be boiled away leaving a white dividing line between the colored areas. This was SO FUN!

There were so many photos and this post is getting long so I uploaded the rest to a slide show! Yes, there are chickens everywhere! And bananas growing on trees! We were in a magical place letting our inner child come out to play.

After our dye has dried in the sun, it’s time to boil out the wax! You’ll see photos of that in the pics above as well!

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This is my boiled and drying batik piece!

This whole process was very much what I had done in school, and it was so fun to do it again. I am thrilled with how my piece came out – not sure what I’ll do with it yet!

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Photo op with the family’s shrine behind me! What a memorable day for everyone – and to think – at this point we were only on our second full day!


  1. Your batik is beautiful! Love the colors! What a fun souvenir of the trip!

  2. This HAS TO BE the center piece of a quilt that you make using the batik scraps you bought in Bali. Call it the Bali Memorial Quilt! Signed and dated too. How special!

  3. Anonymous10:09 PM EDT

    Yeah, I am with QltnRobin, agree about the "Bali" fabric only Memory quilt. Great idea.
    Looking forward to the 'scrap' quilt you design with those batiks. Love those colors and fabrics.
    Hoping your 'body clock' readjusts soon for you, must be frustrating.
    Best to you my friend,
    Faye in Maine

  4. Sue in Scottsdale, AZ10:09 PM EDT

    Oh, what fun! Everyone did a fantastic job. Yes, you need to make a quilt with your scraps and use this as the center of it. I can't wait to see it.

  5. Wonderful photos! Now will you please add batiking fabrics to your class offerings? Just kidding!

  6. WOW! Love your Bali Memory fabric... yes surround it with your Batik scraps for a beautiful quilt!

  7. I'm in agreement! Center panel of a "bali" quilt!!

  8. Love using your panel as the center for aquilt. Or you could stretch it to a canvas and hang in your studio...

  9. Love using your panel as the center for aquilt. Or you could stretch it to a canvas and hang in your studio...

  10. Love using your panel as the center for aquilt. Or you could stretch it to a canvas and hang in your studio...

  11. OH wow, looks like a lot of fun. I love your piece you made. I think that would make a wonderful center of a full batik quilt, with all those scraps that you scored on day one. I can see it already, flowers, and sunbursts in all bright colors.

  12. What to do with your piece? Perhaps the back of the quilt you will make with the batiks you bought? A quilt just for you!

  13. It is beautiful...perhaps it will wind up in a Bali mystery quilt or something :) One can hope, right!

  14. Maree mynanamaree@yahoo.com11:04 PM EDT

    so cool! totally agree ~ you definitely have the start of an awesome quilt there! ☺

  15. Nice! Could be part of the backing on your Bali Batik Quilt Too. In lieu of the label of course. Very interesting process. Wish you still had your piece from School.

  16. Fascinating! Do you find yourself looking at your photos and thinking, "Did I really do all of that? Was I really there?"

  17. What a fun experience! I think you should piece it into the backing of the first quilt you make with all those wonderful batik scraps you bought :)

  18. I too remember batiking at school, and how difficult it was. Your finished panel is fabulous, and is a testament to your skill (and that of your teachers!)

  19. Could you get each of the other 16 to send you a block? And then make a wall hanging or throw?

  20. What an amazing experience that was. It seems that everyone got into it, and did some very creative designs. They were all beautiful. Have you decided what you will do with the piece that you created?

  21. Anonymous10:11 AM EDT

    Hi Bonnie,
    I love looking at all of your photos. It's so fun to see how other people live across this big world. My husband travels all over the world so between the two of you I have gone all over the world! Someday I hope to add a few stamps to a passport!

  22. How beautiful!~ What a treasure you all have, your own batik for a souveneir. That would be pretty in the center of a medallion quilt.

  23. Center of a wall hanging and put it up in your basement studio. It's gorgeous. Enjoy it every day.

  24. Anonymous9:22 PM EDT

    I also remember my batik project in Design Techniques class -'waaaay back in '68! The smell of the wax, the mess, the endless ironing to remove the wax... and thought, 'OK, that's enough; I know how to do it, and probably won't again.' I couldn't control the colors that I wanted, but I still have the little project somewhere in my treasure boxes. Your project and those of the others' are just beautiful! And what a wonderful place to learn!!!

  25. Wow this was neat to read about and see how it is done. Are the wooden and metal stamps heavy? You are giving me a good educational vacation. Thanks!

  26. Wow how cool is that! Looks like everyone had a marvelous time.


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