I have been in Jakarta, Indonesia for 3 days and yesterday was especially a fun day. More important, I accomplished a “goal” I have had since visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia nearly two months ago. Way back then I did a post on the Angkor Wat National Museum, where I first observed a type of artwork called Batik . . .
I found this type of artwork to be beautiful and I wanted to purchase a print at the museum, but I thought they were too expensive. I also thought I would have an opportunity to find Batik prints which were just as beautiful, but less expensive during my trip to Siem Reap. Alas, I did not find what I was looking for. Likewise, upon my visit to Phnom Penh, I also was unable to find exactly what I wanted.
However, a friend of mine in Indonesia, Tia, told me that Batik is really an Indonesian art form and more specifically, a Java island (Indonesia) art form. Consequently, my “quest” for Batik artwork might be fullfilled after all. Grin. I was very happy to hear this . . . So, let me a pause a moment and tell you some things about this type of art.
Batik is a technique of manual wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. The material is usually cotton or silk (more expensive). Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting or also spelled tjanting; or, by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap or also spelled tjap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artist to color selectively by soaking the cloth in one color, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if muliple colors are desired.
Fast forward to yesterday, I visited a mall with Tia and she took me to a store, which specializes and sells only Indonesian made goods. However, my happiness was abated quickly when I saw how expensive some of the items were. We looked at shawls and wraps, which were ridiculously expensive. Yes, they were beautiful and made of silk, but I thought the cost was too high for my tastes. Some even costing over 1-2 hundred dollars. Besides, this was NOT what I was looking for. I wanted a print of approximately 11″ X 14″, suitable for framing. Preferably, I wanted the material to be cotton. Our quest continued in this store . . . We found men’s and women’s clothing made in the Batik style or pattern; but again, this was not what I was looking for. We also found beautiful Chineses style hand fans with Batik printed material used for the fan. I travel light and I almost settled for these fans, but thought they might break in my back pack, so I passed. We continued our search.
Then Tia found it. A print of exactly what I wanted. It was reasonable in cost too. Only $24 U.S. dollars. Wow! Unfortunately, I could only find one . . . The rest of the same size prints had this “glitter” material which I did not like. We continued our search . . .
Finally, in the last place we looked – the bedding and dining room department – I found what I was looking for. Umm . . . sort of. They were intended to be cloth napkins, but for my purposes – No one, absolutely no one, was going to be wiping their hands and mouths on the five napkins I purchased. Hahaha. They were perfect for matting and framing. In fact, I’m already thinking my friend, Carrie MaKenna, an outstanding artist, as well as an art gallery owner in Belmar, Colorado, will be able to assist me. Right Carrie? Hehehe . . .
I can’t wait until I see these hanging in my condo! 🙂