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Postcard from Sri Lanka - Batik

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wax heating

Wax heats in a bowl
in readiness to be
applied to the fabric.

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Batik, is a traditional fabric of Sri Lanka. Batik is the name given to the process of "resist" dyeing of fabric to create a design. The design is first painted onto the cloth in wax. The cloth is then dyed, but the waxed portion "resists" the dye colour, and so a design is formed.

Generally a white fabric is used.

The design is made by applying wax with a small copper pot with a tiny spout. The wax itself is heated in a separate bowl, and the wax in the "drawing pot" is replenished as it cools. The drawing of the design with the wax is usually done by freehand, so the person needs a great deal of skill and talent.

After the initial dye, the fabric is washed in hot water to remove the wax.

Then the process is repeated, once again leaving the part of the design that is intended for the next color unwaxed.

Repeated applications of wax, dyeing and washing build up complicated designs.

Large complex batiks can take weeks to complete. In Sri Lanka, most of the batik I saw was in tourist shops - if you like the fabric you will certainly be able to get some nice souvenirs.

See the Batik process in Photos

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