Sunday, March 15, 2015

More on Asia-- CLOTH

For me this trip to Asia was partly about cloth. 
I brake for great cloth. 
I stop people in the streets everywhere for great cloth.
So now I want to talk about batik. 
Batik is a wax-resist approach. 
The ways wax can be applied to cloth is by brush (of any size), a djanting tool which is like a slow release fine funnel, & a larger area metal stamper that is dipped in a pan of wax and pressed onto the cloth. 
After the wax cools it can be dyed. The wax does not let the dye penetrate to the cloth.
The cloth below was done by such a stamper.
It was so skillfully done that you can't see the 'seams' in the stamp work (which in this case I can't see).
This (above) is a very traditional Indonesian pattern that used to be reserved for royalty. See below for old photo.

Here are some examples of waxed cloth, first  the royalty pattern. 
 This one below is a complex treatment of the royalty pattern.
The batik below was done with a djanting tool-- the fine white lines signify where the wax was put down. The rest of the pattern may have been stamped-- the fish, leaves, birds, etc.

Here's another look below at the work of a djanting tool. Some of the spaces are filled in with hand painting, like the spots on the butterfly & the aft wings. Women (classically) sit & do these patterns 'free' hand. They are so 'common', there is no need for a 'pattern'.
I love this bird in wax resist  below. You can see the places where the wax cracked to allow dye to seep in between the blue&black figures. This piece has at least two dye processes. Blue was dyed first, then another layer of wax went down and the cloth was dipped in black. This is very labor intensive. This piece was done entirely by hand.

 This below is a detail of a batik I bought in Jogjakarta. It is extremely fine cotton & batik work. This image here is about 4 by 6 inches. Fine & old too. I love this piece. I bought it (two views).

 This cloth somehow just 'came' to me. It also seems to me to be a combination of batik, hand painting, & stamping, two views.

And the cloth I did buy & didn't buy below!
I didn't, even though it was a very unusual lotus pattern.
I thought it wasn't very 'pretty', graphic, but not pretty.
But this below, I did buy!

This cloth was very old (it had worn holes in it) and the batik work in it was very fine. 
A classic pattern.
Get a good look at those long-tailed birds & cicadas.
And when I wore it as a sarong it tore! It was fragile.  
I will use it for my own textile work.
If you are shocked I ask: If not me, who?
If not now, when?
So says Meridee, my dear friend & encourager.

Some batik sarongs I saw....
Below are the men guarding the Sultan's Palace in Jogjakarta. They carry ceremonial daggers in their belts.They are wearing all manner of Indonesian themes, even the famous shadow puppets in the first & second ones. You might notice the royalty elements also. I love the way they wrap them for wonderful frontal white edge effects.

Here's the frontal effect... a zigzag of white fabric edge descending.
See the white zig zag here? above....

In Bali we got a batik tablecloth.
It has three dye colors: tan & two shades of blue.
Each dragonfly is different.
Dragonflies: they symbolize new beginnings.
That was compelling.
Another kind of resist is a paste resist. You take some flour like corn, tapioca, or rice. You add boiling water to make paste. Then the paste stenciled or stamped onto cloth. After the paste is thoroughly dry you dip the cloth in indigo or some other dye. 
Below are some examples of this kind of work. 

 I very much love the breakdown in the paste resist that gives unclear results. It's the joyful accidents of cloth that are so delicious!
 The umbrella motifs on this scarf that I got in Bali are actually 'very Japanese'. The Japanese have traditionally done 'tool' or 'utility' stencils.
Below these two classic Japanese patterns are done with rice paste: the technique is called katazome. 

The piece above has two seam lines in it. Maybe you can see them.

There are two other 'resist' techniques that are important.

Ikat & shibori.

Next blog.

That's it for now.

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