Batik is a medium that lies somewhere between art and craft, and has been believed for centuries past. The Batik technique is a development of resist printing. The fabric is painted with molten wax and then dyed in cold dyes after which the cloth is washed in hot water. The wax melts and the pattern emerges. The effect of this resist technique is soft and subdued and the outlines are not clearly specified.

Batik work

      The basic process of batik is simple. It consists of permeating an area of fabric with hot wax so that the wax resists the penetration of dye. If the cloth we begin with is white, such as bleached cotton, linen, or silk, then wherever we apply hot wax that area will remain white in the final design. After the first waxing the fabric is dipped into a dye bath whose color is the lightest tone of those to be used. When the piece has dried, we see an area of white and an area of cloth that is the color of the first dyeing. Wax is now applied to those parts in which we wish to retain the first color, and the entire fabric is immersed in the second dye bath whose color is darker in tone than the first. 

      This process is repeated until the darkest quality required in the final design has been achieved. When the fabric, now almost wholly waxed, has dried it is placed between sheets of absorbent paper and a hot iron applied. As the sheets of paper absorb the wax they are replaced by fresh sheets until the wax is removed.  Now we can see final design clearly. Mordants are used in another method of printing. The cloth is first printed with mordants a sort of coloring material, then immersed in the dye. Only the sections, which have absorbed the mordant, can absorb the dye. The cloth is then washed in flowing waters and allowed to dry in the sun when the colors develop. Then the untreated sections are bleached with local ingredients. 

      Hand printing is practiced in Jaipur, Sanganer, Bagroo, Apli and Barmer in Rajasthan. In Gujarat, Mandvi, Dhamardhka, Mundra, Anjar, Jamnagar, Surrendranagar, Jaitpur, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Deesa are the important centers of printing fabrics. Mandvi and Anjar in Kutch district of Gujarat use both direct printing as well as resist printing.  Delhi has many printing establishments, which cater to both the internal and the external markets. Farukhabad in Uttar Pradesh is an important printing center and it produces bed covers, curtains, and hangings for Export.

       Mausilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh has printers who are specialized in hand printing, Kalamkari printing, Resist printing, block printing as well as Batik works. Hand- painted Batik using locally grown indigo dyes is famous here. Tanjore in Tamilnadu produces fine quality hand printed saris with the resist method in a village called Kodial. Gold work patterns are woven in the body of the sari and the outlines are worked with a combination of Kalamkari and printing which produces a rich and delicate look.

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