Jogjakarta Stories and Tips

Batik-Making

Batik painting Photo, Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Java is very well-known for the batiks. People paint batik from plain fabrics like cotton or silk with paraffin. If you go to Malioboro Street in Jogjakarta, there are a lot of batik shops and stalls, but if you want to see how to make batik, I recommend that you to go to the Taman Sari complex.

Enter Taman Sari from Ngasem bird market. Taxi and bicycle drivers know where it is. I myself prefer to walk from sultan’s palace.

When I reached the bird market, I was a bit confused and asked someone the way to Taman Sari. Then, he started to explain everything, although I already refused to get explanation from a guide. "No! I’m not a guide. You don’t have to pay me. I’m a sultan’s employee. My family has been live here from three generations." Later, I found out that he was a batik painter who could not continue his profession since he ran out of money.

There were hundreds of batik painters in the Taman Sari complex, but due to the economic crisis, only a few who can sustain this living. The fabrics and paraffin are too expensive for them. Although only a few batik painters are left, we still could see lots of batik painting in Taman Sari.

All batiks in Taman Sari are traditionally handmade. After sketching with pencils, they start to use paraffin on the sketch. They colored the half-finished fabrics with natural plants. The washing process is also interesting. They don’t use hand gloves, so their hands are brown from the melted paraffin. Maybe gloves are too expensive for them.

If you want to learn how to make batik, you can pay around 750,000 rupiah. Unfortunately, I don’t remember my "tour guide’s" name, but if you have a chance to visit Taman Sari, there are a few shops offering lessons on how to make batik

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