What is batik?

Batik is both an art and a craft, which is becoming more popular and well known as a wonderfully creative medium. The art of decorating cloth in this way, using wax and dye, has been practiced for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is a part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest cloth in the world is still made there.

The word batik originates for the Javanese word tik, and means “to dot”.

To make batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original color. This process can be repeated to create elaborate and color designs.


Contemporary batik, while owing much to the past, is markedly different from the more traditional and formal styles. Using different tools to create the designs, and different resist values in the wax can provide a wide range of techniques available to the artist.