Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
On the island of Bali, traditions are thriving. One such tradition, though relatively new to the island, has already established itself. This tradition is called “batik.” Popular throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, this art form has been around for centuries. It involves a wax-resist dying technique. Essentially, the wax creates a negative space that will remain a natural whitish color during the dyeing process.
To apply the wax, a special tool called a “canting” is used. This technique allows for a more free-handed approach and is similar to decorating a cake with icing. Another method involves a copper stamp called a “cap.” These caps look similar to cookie cutters, but instead of cutting shapes into the fabric – as normal cookie cutters would cut into dough – specific areas within the cap are filled with wax. These are often used for more intricate patterns and produce a more uniform look to the final product. Once the fabric has been dyed, the wax is boiled off with water.
The most popular designs are floral and geometric patterns. However, images of human figures and scenes from everyday life can also be found. Some patterns may be used for cloth that will wrap newborns while others may be used to show someone’s social status.
In Bali, high class batik is especially popular for showing someone’s social status. Though batik has had a presence in Indonesia for centuries, it is noticeably different from its Balinese cousin. Though Bali is part of Indonesia, there are subtle differences in culture. It will be interesting to see how the Balinese develop the art of batik in coming years.
A Protected Tradition
In recent years, UNESCO named Indonesian batik a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The organization has encouraged Bali and Indonesia to preserve the art.
Take Home Your Own Batik
The Goak Batik Bali was established to educate visitors, pass on the tradition, and showcase local batik artists. Visitors have the opportunity to browse the gallery and take home handmade souvenirs from the shop. Guests may also sign up for tours of the workshop and take a class. Participants of the classes will bring home their own batik painting. This gallery is only 25 minutes north of downtown Denpasar and makes a perfect day trip for those looking for the authentic Bali experience.
For more information, check out their official website: http://goakbatikbali.com/
Looking for something off the beaten path? Not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!