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Hands-on: Batik & Wax-dye
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The wax-dyeing technique is thought to be over a thousand years old. The batik has reached its highest artistic expression in southeast Asia and Southwest China, particularly among minority ethnic Chinese. Batik has become a very central means of artistic expression for many of the areas of Asia and a deeply integrated facet of Asian culture.


Melted wax is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Thin wax lines are made with a tjanting (canting, pronounced chahn-ting) needle, a wooden-handled tool with a tiny metal cup with a tiny spout, out of which the wax seeps. One indication of the level of craftmanship in a piece of batik cloth is whether the pattern is equally visible on both sides of the cloth. This indicates the application of wax on both sides, either with the canting or with mirror-image design blocks.

After the last dyeing, the fabric is hung up to dry. Then it is dipped in a solvent to dissolve the wax, or placed in a vat of boiling water, or ironed between paper towels or newspapers to absorb the wax and reveal the deep rich colors and the fine crinkle lines that give batik its character.

Learn to make batik and wax-dyeing techniques from CCC batik master Wang. It will take 3 or 3.5 hours to complete a piece during this workshop.

Venue: China Culture Center, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.


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