Origins – Pick Up Sticks Vintage’s beautiful Balinese batiks
Pick up Sticks Vintage hunts down batik fabrics in Bali
I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful island of Bali on a recent holiday to Indonesia and as an avid textile collector my first port of call was to hunt down some local batik fabrics.
In Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest batik cloth in the world is still made there. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot.
To make batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs. After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for wearing or showing.
Batik is traditionally sold in 2.25-metre lengths used for kain panjang or sarong. It is worn by wrapping it around the hip, or made into a hat known as blangkon. The cloth can be filled continuously with a single pattern or divided into several sections.
Many Indonesian batik patterns are symbolic. Infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and certain batik designs are reserved for brides and bridegrooms, as well as their families. Some designs are reserved for royalties, and even banned to be worn by commoners. Consequently, a person’s rank could be determined by the pattern of the batik he or she wore.
My hunt for batik started early one morning at Jalan Sulawesi, the textile centre in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. The choice was amazing…
Shops and shops of cotton, silk and even wool batiks and although I didn’t manage to pick up any hand worked batik fabrics (as these are now very expensive) I did manage to get some fabulously vibrant printed cotton batiks available now in the shop by the metre or as sarongs.
What would you make from one of Kate’s Balinese batik cottons?
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