I was curious whether there is a difference between batik produced in Malaysia and batiks made elsewhere. The traditional method of batiking is applying melted wax to design outlines on fabric to create the resist, and immersion of that fabric in natural or chemical dye to add color to the overall design. The wax may be boiled off, and another round of waxing and over dyeing will be repeated.
Although this traditional technique is still used, especially in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu where most cotton batik sarongs are produced, Malaysian batik artists employ many other techniques in combination with the traditional such as tie-dye, discharge of dye or wax splatter. However, it is the direct painting method (sometimes referred to as rainbow painting) that has given Malaysian batik artists the freedom of expression to produce the wearable art loved by Malaysians.
It is also the unique combination of cool silk textile, a dye type (Remazol, a vinyl sulphone dye) that does not require hours of batching, and the hot and humid conditions found in tropical Malaysia that enable artists to produce these amazing pieces of cloth later made into clothes and scarves around the country.
The painterly freedom enjoyed by Malaysian batik artists has produced a particularly vivid “brand” of batik unique to Malaysia, with choices of bright, tropical colors and motifs. Check out our instagram champacabatik for more pictures.