The role of Batik in the evolution of the Adire fabric

Batik is an indigenous method of making fabric by hand, which is practiced all over the world. Batikers create designs and then stamp the designs onto fabric using candle wax. Sometimes they will draw on the fabric by free-hand, using a stencil such as a foam to stamp the designs. The cloth can be dyed before or after the stamping process. Afterward, it is placed in boiling water and then washed, revealing the stamped or hand-drawn designs. Designs range from vintage, cultural symbols to modern and abstract designs.

The history of Batik

Batik is an Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth. This technique originated from the island of Java, Indonesia. The Indonesian Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of wax with a spouted tool called a canting or by printing the wax with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired

Indonesian coastal batik (batik pesisir) made in the island of Java has a history of acculturation, a mixture of native and foreign cultures. It is a newer model compared to inland batik, and it uses more colors, though the patterns are less intricate. This is because inland batik used to be made by select experts living in palace areas, while coastal batik could be made by anyone.

Batik is very important to Indonesians and many people wear it to formal or casual events. Batik is commonly used by Indonesians in various rituals, ceremonies, traditions, celebrations, and even in daily uses.

On October 2, 2009, UNESCO officially recognized the batik—written batik (batik tulis) and stamped batik (batik cap)—as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity from Indonesia and encouraged the Indonesian people and the Indonesian government to safeguard, transmit, promote, and develop the craftsmanship of batik.[1] Since then, Indonesia celebrates “the National Batik Day” (IndonesianHari Batik Nasional) annually on October 2. Nowadays, Indonesians wear batik in honor of this ancient tradition.[9]

In the same year, UNESCO also recognized “Education and training in Indonesian Batik intangible cultural heritage for elementary, junior, senior, vocational school and polytechnic students, in collaboration with the Batik Museum in Pekalongan” as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices List.[10]

In Africa, Batik it was originally practised in Southwestern Nigeria NigeriaSoninke and Wolof in Senegal.[18] This African version, however, uses cassava starch or rice paste, or mud as a resist instead of beeswax.

lot of sources claim that batik comes from the island of Java in Indonesia. This style of making fabrics has been a staple of the culture and the identity of Indonesians for centuries. It’s been identified as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and the Indonesian government has taken active steps to safeguard, transmit, promote and develop the process of making batik. They even added it to the school curriculum at all levels of education.

Batik has since been appropriated by people from all over the world. Countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China and many African countries have adopted the technique in the most elegant forms. Here in Nigeria, it’s role as a symbol of cultural identity and artistic expression can’t be measured and it is widely produced throughout the country and particularly in Yoruba regions.

Batik is a dyeing technique where patterns are drawn on the sheets with liquid wax. The dye is not able to penetrate the parts of the fabric that has wax in them, so batik makers are able to create all kinds of patterns. The entire process is done completely by hand and no two finished works are identical.

Big chunks of wax are melted on kerosene stoves and a pointed sponge soaks up and creates the lines and shapes. The cloths are taken to the dye pits and soaked in a mixture of dye color, caustic soda and hydrosulfate until all parts of the cloth absorbs the color. They are then immersed in hot water and the wax re-melts and floats to the top of the water, ready to be reused.