In conjunction to Hari Batik Nasional on the 2nd of October, I was invited to attend a Batik-making Workshop at Aston Marina Ancol, North Jakarta.
Though having born and live in the island of Java, it was the first time in my life that I actually hold a canting and recognized a ‘malam’ wax made especially to design a Batik. In Indonesia it is common to know how Batik is made. The process of making patterns and dots with hot wax and color them with dye to make a variety of design on a fabric. However in this workshop held at Aston Marina Ancol, I learned so much more than just that.
Bapak Sugeng Riadi, from Museum Tekstil Jakarta was invited to lead the workshop. He taught various crowds from children to adult, local Indonesian and tourists the art of Batik in the museum. He is very fond of Batik and the beautiful heritage and history it has created for Indonesia, making this ex-middle school teacher interested to go deeper into learning and share the experience to everyone as much as he can.
I personally was excited to learn that Batik was actually once belong to only one region of Indonesia, particularly Yogyakarta and Solo. As the city ruled by a King, Batik was used as the traditional attire for the royal families. Back in the day, not everyone can wear a batik, especially one with a certain design that is specific to only the King. But in today’s society batik have made a long way all across Indonesia, making it recognized by UNESCO as part of Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity starting from October 2nd, 2009. The batik designs from Yogyakarta and Solo were inspired from the Hindu kingdoms that ruled Java back in the 1200s and many designs were derived from reliefs of temples.
Besides learning how to hold a canting properly (it needs to be held straight with the fabric, so the hot wax won’t spill), I also learned about certain batik designs in the workshop. One that is popular along the Central Java region is called batik Parang. There are various design as well to batik Parang, including Parang Barong, Parang Kusumo, Parang Klitik and Parang Curigo. The batiks in Yogyakarta and Solo mostly use subtle colors like brown, black, white and blue. Pak Sugeng mentioned about batik that comes from other than Yogyakarta and Solo, most likely comes from “Pesisiran“ or the coastal area of Java, which includes areas like Cirebon, Pekalongan and Madura. They have a rather distinctive design inspired by nature, such as flowers and clouds, and they are more colorful.
Though Batik is special to the island of Java due to its historical background, other regions of Indonesia also have created many batik designs. The designs are mostly inspired by the region’s famous landmark or culture heritage. For example, Bengkulu has Batik Besurek with a design combination of Arabic calligraphy and Bengkulu’s famous giant flower, Rafflesia Arnoldi. Jakarta has also has its own batik design, which is a drawing of Betawi’s owned Ondel-ondel, the giant puppets mostly performed in culture festivals. Meanwhile in Kalimantan, the batik design is more colorful as the symbol of Kalimantan’s many tribes and its shield.
It was a great learning process at the workshop held in Aston Marina Ancol and I am so happy to learn so much from Pak Sugeng. If you are interested in Batik making, you can always go to Museum Tekstil Jakarta, with only Rp. 40.000 for Indonesian and Rp. 75.000 for foreigners for a course. You can choose your own design and color the fabric as anyway as you like!
Museum Tekstil Jakarta
Jl. Aipda KS Tubun No.2-4 Jakarta Pusat
Phone: (021) 560 6613
Tickets & Operational Hours (click)