Kis Herry from Indonesia
"I am an engineer. I worked in a large only profit-minded company, but one day I said - enough. It's about time to follow my passion."
Sounds familiar? This is how the story of the tiny J & J Crafts starts, which is owned by Kis Herry Wibowo living in Jogjakarta, on the Indonesian island of Java. After several years working in a big batik factory Herry quit his job and since 2009 has been producing and sells hand-made batik on his own account. Its offer includes both stamped fabrics made with so-called "cap" method, as well as more sophisticated and unique hand-painted copies made by "Tulis” technique.
Herry`s small workshop with 5 employees is located in Surakarta - a city famous for batiks. It`s Kis Herry himself designing and producing stamps used for “cap” technique. He also personally supervises his small team ensuring that every piece of the material is made carefully and with attention to every detail. "I know that Europeans have slightly different tastes. We Indonesians have great imagination when it comes to patterns and colors. Everyone, even men wear colorful batik shirts". The most beautiful materials we brought with us to Poland to create dresses, skirts and who knows ... maybe even batik shirts for men?
Batik is known as one of the oldest method of decorating textile. It's done by applying wax on certain areas of fabrics (following the motifs designed), in order to fill in areas with particular colors preferred. Indonesia is one of the countries around the globe that has a long history of Batik painting, besides India, Malaysia, etc. Indonesian famous batik works come mostly from Central Java such as Yogyakarta and Surakarta which we visited. It`s Indonesian batik to be recognized as human heritage and placed on UNESCO list in 2009.
During our trip we saw many Indonesian - young and elder, boys and girls wearing batiks. However not only day-to-day outfits are to be made from batiks. To Indonesians, Batik are closely related to their heritage and tradition. Though using similar batik method, batik fabrics from Indonesia are differentiated based on colors and motifs which translates to their origin areas/province and some motifs are strictly reserved for special occasions!
The term "Tulis" means "To Write", which reflects the exact method of applying the wax as if one is writing on a piece of fabric, in this case using a special tool called "Canting". "Canting" functions as a pen to create outlines on batik motifs. A small container of melted wax is attached to a wooden handle, with end for the wax to come out. This tip or end varies in numbers in order to create different lines on the finished batik cloth; for example: 2 tips, 3 tips. Batik Tulis can be easily recognized by looking into the slightly uniformity on the motifs within one batik cloth. This method of creating batik is the most time consuming as well as valuable due to its difficulty.
"Cap" means "Stamp". Batik cap is created by applying motives that is previously stamped on to the melted wax container and then stamped on to the fabric. Using stamp in creating batik motives does save time and provides more consistency on the design lines (motifs). Nowadays, people started to develop their own designs (both traditional and contemporary) on these stamps when creating their signature batik collections.
Coloring is done by applying wax on certain areas of fabrics (following the motifs designed), in order to fill in areas with particular colors preferred. In batik, area that is covered with wax is not the area that will be dyed/colored (Negative area). Wax is applied on certain area of the fabric in order to protect the area from absorbing dyestuff (dye resistant). Fabric is dipped into hot water which will melt the wax and then wash it through with cold water. After the fabric is cleaned and dried, then it's ready to be dyed with the second color.
The more colors a batik fabric has, the more time consuming the process is which will lead to a more expensive batik piece. There are occasions where we can see batik with 5 or 6 different colors applied within one fabric.