In order to create a batik fabric with such elaborate detail as seen in Indonesian and African I had to implement much time and dedication. The Indonesian batik influences I chose to incorporate in my design are the borders. The borders commonly seen in Indonesian batik designs have geometric, animal, spiral, or floral details (Harris 164). The borders of my design will also have spiral details to create movement. The center design is influenced by batik designs made in Ghana and. The center designs are large diamond shapes with semicircular lines. The semicircular lines also identify with the idea of sound, similar to the musical characteristics seen in African designs (“African Fabric or Dutch Wax Print”).
When preparing to make my wax for my batik fabric I chose to use the ingredients used by the people of Ghana and Togo, which is paraffin wax and beeswax (“The Story Behind African Wax Print Cloth “). Paraffin wax is a colorless, scentless element derived from alkane hydrocarbons melts easily and becomes brittle when it solidifies unlike beeswax (Commonly used for tealight candles) (“What is Paraffin Wax?”). Beeswax is made by honeybees for the construction of the honeycomb. It is a yellow substance with the scent of honey and is a more thick kind of wax in comparison to paraffin wax (“Beeswax facts”). Both kinds of wax were purchased at Michaels. The fabric I chose for batik is muslin because it is easier to dye, especially for a beginner such as myself. The dye I chose for the fabric is called Dylon (colors gold fish orange and velvet black). They dye only requires a mixture of warm water and salt. The tools I needed to start my process include two pots, a knife, a large spoon, 3 paintbrushes, two large cups or bowls, and a large trash bag.
Once I established the designs that I wanted to incorporate on my fabric, purchased my ingredients, and gathered my tools, my next step was to begin to create the batik textile. The first step was to break the tealight candle in half and cut pieces of the beeswax off. Both kinds of wax are then placed in a tealight candle tin. The tin is then placed in the smaller pot with a small amount of water surrounding it as the pot is heated, in order to melt the wax. I then used my smallest paintbrush to paint the wax on my muslin with my chosen Indonesian and African designs in mind, with a paper underneath to catch the seeping wax (Wilson). This step took me 8 hours, but once I completely applied my design onto my fabric with the wax, I let the wax dry for 10 minutes and began the dyeing process.
The dyeing process was not as difficult as applying the wax. First, filled my two large cups up half way with warm water and added 3 tablespoons of salt so that my dye is potent, then poured the powdery dye in the cups. Second, after stirring the dye with the salt and water, I placed my fabric on top of my big trash bag and used my large paintbrush to paint on the lighter color dye (goldfish orange) first and the medium sized brush to paint on the darker color (velvet black) second which took me 5 hours (“Batik Basics”). The idea of using brushes to create my design came from the website Dharma Trading Co. which provides a step-by-step guide to creating a batik textile with different resources. Once the dye was completely applied, I let it sit and dry for 3 hours so that it doesn’t fade as much once I washed it. Once the dye dried, my next step was getting the wax taken off the fabric.
In order to remove the wax from the fabric I followed the steps of Dharma Trading Co. The first step was to boil hot water in my larger pot and place the batik fabric inside with something weighing it down (my broken napkin holder). As the water boiled, I stirred the fabric around with my large spoon and the wax rose to the surface, separating from the fabric. After soaking the fabric for 20 minutes, I rinsed the fabric before washing it with detergent. After washing my fabric, the design was clearly visible and all that was left for me to do was let it dry (“Introduction to batik”).……….and WALA!!
Creating my batik fabric was in no way an easy task. But, once I realized my mistakes after trying my samples first it became a lot easier. What I learned from this experience is that creating a batik fabric is very time consuming. It takes a very patient and talented person to create batik fabrics. My only regret is my color choice, instead of choosing velvet black I should have chosen a light green to compliment the orange better. This was a new and fun experience for me and I am glad that I chose this technique. I will definitely try this technique again in the future.