Art and Culture - Batiks

Students in my Senior High and Middle School Art classes, at Florida Preparatory, were given the opportunity to explore the art of “Batiks.”  Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached the greatest peak of accomplishment and this lesson incorporated both the traditional and modern methods of batik making.

This wonderfully creative medium gave my students the chance to understand how indigenous cultures can create beautiful works of art from natural materials. 

This project was new to all of my students. It involved exposure to new media and techniques and I was very happy with the outcome of each student’s attempt at this very difficult project.

As an art instructor and artist, do not believe in a “one method fits all students in any of my art classes.” I strive to let students explore new mediums and to take chances. This is so important for their growth in the arts.

The following is a summary of the tools and processes used by the students.                                                         - Wendy Mack



So much preparation & new things to learn – but, well worth it!

·         I purchased old frames & paintings from a thrift store - the students removed any pictures or paintings, leaving only the frame

·         Each student was given a frame & removed staples & tacs (I’m saving the glass for a later project)

·         Each student brought in an old t-shirt – ripping them into strips & bound them onto the old frames to use as a base for their batik  

·         I purchased a few yards of inexpensive white fabric - cutting the fabric to size for each student

·         I introduced the traditional process of Batik through a film

·         I brought in actual batik cloth made in Indonesia

·         Students created batik designs through thumbnail sketches in their sketchbook - some designs were redone, as they were much to intricate for their first batik.

·         Each student pinned the white pre-cut fabric to their wrapped frame base

·         They then transferred their design onto the fabric

·         It was key students understood the element of color and the layering of color

·         Learning to use a tjanting needle was intimidating at first, but most students got the technique right away

·         Understanding the use of batik wax – melting of the wax – what to look for in application of the wax was very important – safety precautions were always in place!

·         Understanding the resist process was on the list of things to learn

·         Non-traditional ways to apply a resist, other than using wax were utilized when necessary

·         Proper use of dyes was demonstrated – gloves available!

·         Use of paint and dyes together were options for some students

·         Learning how to remove the wax with an iron was new not only in the batik process but using an iron in general

·         Mounting and preparing their batik for presentation was the step we finally had  to reach