First of all, we are glad to announce that Biji-Biji has gathered the materials necessary to kick start a mini batik studio at their headquarters, in the center of Kuala Lumpur!
Batik is a centuries old textile art based on the technique of decorating and (repeatedly) dyeing a fabric by using removable wax to save the parts of the fabric that are not intended to be dyed.
Why are you so lucky to be here in Kuala Lumpur and learn this ancient technique?
Different forms of batik have been identified in China, Japan, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Central Asia, Africa, Egypt and Europe but the Malaysians and the Indonesians (especially the Javanese) have worked passionately and constantly on perfecting this art. The abundance of materials such as wax, vegetable paste, paraffin and dyes and the tropical weather conditions in SE Asia make it a perfect place to nurture a constant development of this art!
Why batik can change your life?
Well, you might have recently passed through a bookstore and you might have noticed a whole wall dedicated to coloring books for adults?! This is the global hype at the moment! From Europe to Asia and the US, coloring books for adults are selling like crazy, validated by new scientific research that agrees that coloring is a type of meditation and a way of exercising mindfulness, while blocking negative thoughts. So, coloring is therapeutic! Finally, science goes ahead to confirm this now, but I bet that the batik artists and any other type of artists since forever knew this already from their own experience! Doing art is a way to relieve stress and to express emotions. There is even an acknowledged type of therapy, art therapy that is gaining more and more attention worldwide.
So, while living in SE Asia you are blessed to have the materials in handy for doing batik, which helps you relieve daily tensions and stress. Nonetheless, big or small, the batik pieces that you will finish will fill you up with a feeling of accomplishment and beauty! These pieces could become ways of making your house more beautiful by displaying them on your walls and collecting compliments from family or guests. Or you could use them as unique gifts for your family and friends! Or you could include them into your own unique bags or even clothing!
And the benefits don’t end here!
What does this have to do with sustainability?
It’s only in the recent years that the concept of cultural sustainability has been coined. The definition is still inexact, but it includes the ways in which cultural identity is enhanced by making appeal to the concepts of heritage, engagement, creativity, memory and projection. And batik is the soul of the Indo-Malay culture! Studying the art of batik, not only will you gain artistic skills, but you will learn so much about the culture and history of the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago. Every symbol used in batik, every sign, every pattern and every color stands for something which always relates to the historical context in which it was created.
Last but not least, be on the watch! We are preparing some new designs of upcycled seatbelts & authentic Malay batik bags!