Batik is an ancient art that uses dyes and wax to create a visual magic on different kinds of fabrics. It is believed that the term is derived from the word `Ambatik' which translates to a piece of cloth with small dots or writing with wax or drawing in broken lines. It is an appreciated form of art across the globe but have you ever wondered how a Batik print is created?
The art of Batik involves 3 basic steps – waxing, dyeing and scraping (removing). Firstly, the wax is used to create designs on some pre-defined areas on the fabric. Secondly, the fabric is dyed and then the wax is taken off by scraping or by boiling the cloth so that the wax peels off. It results in a beautiful piece of cloth with unique designs. Traditionally, it used to be carried out on cotton or silk fabrics.
Origin and History
There are several theories regarding the place and period of the origin of Batik. In India, the roots of Batik can be traced to the 1st century AD. Traditionally, the only set of artisans who knew this art belonged to the Khatri community of Gujarat. Over a period of time, the art of Batik got lost and relegated into the background. However, in the 20th century, Batik was introduced in syllabus and taught in the University of Shanti Niketan, Kolkata.
Though it was done only on cotton and silk, these days the process of Batik is carried out on georgette as well. The finest Batik designs in India come from the artisans of Cholamandalam near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Batik printing is also done in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Though these days, screen printing is the method used to create the lovely Batik designs, some artisans still prefer to do Batik printing by hand. Post the 1980s, housewives and small-scale women entrepreneurs started getting involved in hand-made Batik designs.
Today, there is no one single community involved in the production of Batik designs on clothes. There are hundreds of artisans in different regions of India who are trained in the art of Batik. The designs have influence or other of elements or culture of their respective states in them.
Hope you found this article insightful!