Batik is a term that derives from the Javanese word “batik” meaning “to paint.” The process is done by waxing or printing coloured wax (prima) onto cloth, usually cotton, two or three times in quick succession.
This gives the cloth a crocheted appearance and texture. Batik cloth can be created with one pattern on part of the cloth or with many patterns over the entire fabric, typically limited to large-scale designs such as leaves, animals, ploughs, boats and flowers.
Batik has been used as an art form for centuries in Indonesia but it is more recently gaining popularity in other parts of Asia and throughout Europe.
What is the best fabric for batik?
The fabric for batik is usually cotton.
What is cotton?
Cotton comes from the seed of the cotton plant. Cotton fibre is used to make clothing, bedding and fabrics as well as felts and tools. Cotton is able to absorb and lock up odours. It is recognised for its breathability and moisture management, making it a versatile material for apparel in both warm and cool climates.
What are the pros of cotton?
Cotton has an amazing range of natural colours from which to choose, even from one piece of cotton fabric..
Cotton is very breathable and hygroscopic, allowing it to “breathe” and absorb moisture. It can easily dissipate moisture as well, making it a great material for summer and spring clothing that will wick away moisture while keeping you warm. This makes cotton a very cool material. Moisture management also means that cotton helps our bodies regulate temperature, keeping us feeling comforted in cold weather and feeling cooler during hot months.
Cotton is also very absorbent. This makes it a great material for spills or accidents, such as those experienced by children, the elderly or anyone who may have trouble getting to the restroom on time. It absorbs blood and other bodily fluids and helps prevent rashes and chafing. Cotton is also used in medical applications because of its absorbency and biodegradability when composted.
Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, making it ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or allergies.
What are the cons of cotton?
Cotton loses its natural colour by frequent washing, with the colour fading out within a few washings. Cotton can also experience colour bleeding, where one area of fabric looks lighter than another part of the fabric. The fabric can also fade with age or from continuous washing and it lays differently when it is washed.
Cotton is made of natural materials, and like all natural materials it has its limitations. A major problem with cotton is that it can become unsanitary due to poor deodorisation. Cotton is also extremely absorbent, so it can retain a lot of moisture. When this happens, it will attract odours which can be very off-putting. Some people are also allergic to cotton due to its natural fibres.