Batik (Javanese for “wax painting”), both the technique of textile design by negative, or resist, dyeing and the resulting fabric. Designs are first painted on both sides of a cloth in melted wax, traditionally poured from a copper pot with several spouts. The cloth is then dipped in dye, which is absorbed by the uncovered areas but resisted by the waxed areas; the result is a light pattern on a dark ground. After the wax is removed (by boiling or dissolving), the process may be repeated many times with other colored dyes to achieve great intricacy of design and richness of color. Batik, known to the ancient Sumerians, was developed into an art of great beauty by the Javanese and other Indonesian peoples. They used traditional geometric or floral motifs, often symbols of religion or social status, most frequently in blue and brown tones. Batik was introduced to Europe by Dutch merchants in the 17th century.
Indonesian batik fabrics have become a common export product for the quilting trade. However, the batik fabrics that I choose are not mass-produced and still made by co-ops of people who are committed to maintaining the integrity of the process and are paid appropriately for their superior skills.
Tie-dye is a process of resist dyeing textiles made from knit or woven fabric, usually cotton; typically using bright colors. Traditonal tie-dye techniques have also been used for centuries in the Hausa region of West Africa, Peru and Thailand.