Batik painting is an ancient art form originating in southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia and something I discovered during our recent trip to Thailand. In an effort to learn all about Batik painting first hand, we traveled to a small, predominately Muslim village located on the outskirts of Krabi, where we spent the day with a local family who are well-known experts in this cultural craft.
Filled with colorful houses, tuk-tuks, and livestock roaming the streets, the village was far from the beaten path, but the lifestyle of its people was amazingly simple, uniquely beautiful, and quintessentially Thai.
While I was focused on learning the batik painting process, Ryan explored the village and captured these amazing shots…
Upon arrival, the family welcomed us with open arms and even though they didn’t speak any English, they did an amazing job teaching me all about the craft they’ve spent years perfecting and what for generations has been their sole livelihood.
Batik is the process of waxing and dyeing cottons and silks, where the applied wax resists dyes allowing artisans to color selectively, producing complex and beautiful designs.
In order to begin the process, I was instructed to select a pattern from a large stack of wax papers and trace it onto white muslin with a pencil. After the pattern was transferred, hot wax was applied to the fabric, tracing over the pencil with a canting tool.
I then painted the fabric with an assortment of colorful dyes, using water to dilute colors in order to create an ombre affect in different places.
When painting was complete, the fabric was dipped in boiling water, removing all of the wax, and then sealed.
After spending the day practicing this ancient art form, I was surprised to learn how labor intensive Batik painting is. I was told that modern methods have simplified this time-consuming process, but the best batiks are still made by hand.
Spending the day exploring this small fishing village and painting with this talented family was definitely a highlight of our trip and something we will never forget. Luckily, in addition to the paintings we created that day, we were able to purchase a few of their gorgeous handmade Batik sarongs to bring home with us!
Keep and eye out for these one-of-a-kind sarongs coming soon to the Summer Market!