Made our way to the lobby at 15:00. There we met up with a representative from Goak Batik Bali, who drove us to their family-run batik factory for our batik class.
Goak Batik Bali
The factory/workshop is nothing fancy. It’s divided into two sides; on the left is where they produce the batik and on the right is a shop for customers to purchase the completed products.
Upon reaching, we met up with the owner, and the class began with him giving us an explanation on how to go about creating our batik pieces. (The lesson we signed up includes a hands-on experience to create our very own 40cm x 40cm batik design.) He shared with us the steps required to create a simple batik piece, together with showing us the wax and tools needed. We have the option of coming up with our own design or using one of the existing patterns that they have. They already have a stack of designs printed out on papers; we could simply pick a pattern and begin from there. In the end, we decided to use their design since we weren’t sure what to draw.
Step 1: Tracing (with pencil)
The first step of batik making is to trace out the motif using a pencil on a piece of cloth. Ours measured 40cm by 40cm, which is technically bigger than a handkerchief, but smaller than a scarf.
Light is shined from under the table/glass so that we could easily see and trace the pattern.
Despite choosing a relatively simple design, it still took me quite a while to finish my tracing.
Once the tracing is done, the cloth is then pinned onto a wooden frame, ready for the next step.
Step 2: Tracing (with wax)
Moving outside, we sat down on small stools, next to a pot of hot liquid wax and began to redraw our design. This time using a tool known as “canting”.
Canting is a pen-like tool used to apply liquid hot wax. Traditional canting consists of copper wax-container with small pipe spout and bamboo handle. The container helps to hold the liquid wax; which then flows through the spout, creating dots and lines as it moves.
Instead of working on our cloth, they gave us a sample piece to try on first. They also show us what’s the correct way of holding the canting to prevent the wax from leaking.
This is after the first round of tracing using liquid wax and canting.
Step 3: Outlining
Once I completed my first round of tracing with wax, I then passed my piece to the master/owner, who then helped me to do the outlining.
For easier drawing, tilt the frame to a 45-degree angle.
Step 4: Painting with Paraffin Wax
Next, we moved on to painting. Using a small paint brush, we started painting a thin layer of resist (paraffin wax) around our design. The areas treated with resist helps to prevent the dye from reaching the fabric; preserving the original colour.
Step 5: Cracking
Having covered the area that needed to be protected, we then move on to create the cracking effect.
While painting the resist helps to prevent the dye from reaching the fabric, cracking does the opposite. Cracking cause the resist to break; thus allowing the dye to reach the fabric.
To create the cracking effect, remove the cloth from the frame, then roll or crunch the fabric together.
The above is done by crunching the fabric together. You can easily see the lines that are formed by cracking.
I chose to roll my fabric vertically, followed by exerting light force to cause the resist to crack.
Step 6: Dying with Colour
Due to time constraint, we only managed to use one colour for our batik. Using a big paint brush, we gave our fabric one nice coat of colour. Remember to cover all areas, including those under the nails.
Step 7: Boiling and Soaking in Hot/Cold Water
Once the dye is dry, we then transferred it into a pot of boiling water. The boiling water causes the resist to melt and thus enables it to be easily removed.
After boiling in hot water, the fabric is then removed and put into the cold water to lock in the colour. This is also the time to scrape off any remaining resist.
Our own distinctive batik.
Aside from the batik, we also left with a certificate of participation for the “Balinese Batik Tour Class Program in Goak Batik Bali”.
The class is supposed to take two hours. But including time spent on travelling, it took us close to three hours. I was initially concern when I realised there isn’t an Alila staff tagging along with us. (Afterall, this is an activity offered by the resort, I thought they should have assigned someone to come along with us.) But come to think about it now, it would be boring for the staff to stand and watch us do our batik. A staff/guide is unnecessary since the owner was the one explaining the technique to us.
While this is not the first time we had witness batik making (the first time was in Solo), this is the first time we tried making our own. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience; though I did have a little mishap during the class. I accidentally knocked onto the Fiancé while he was painting the resist, and a tiny bit of hot wax came splashing on my face. Some of which even landed on my eyelid. I was so worried that it might leave a scar. (Which, unfortunately, it did.) But thankfully, it was nothing serious. I only had a small tiny spot on my face.
For those who are attending the class, please be extra careful and never stand too close to the person dealing with liquid wax.
To find out more details about the class, check out the Alila Experience brochure. Price for the class is IDR600,000++ per person, with a minimum requirement of two.