A Spotlight on Batiks

They're beautiful fabrics that get a lot of love in the patchwork and quilting world but how much do you actually know about Batiks, why they're different and where they come from?

Let's start with the basics

Definition: Batiks is a process for printing designs on cloth (in our case, cotton). Wax is put on those areas of the cloth that you do not want to be coloured by dye.

 A Brief History: Batiks have been around a long time, we're talking way back 1,500 years ago in Egypt. It is a craft that has high artistic value and the most famous place for producing Batik is Indonesia. The word batik is believed to have come from the word 'ambatik', which means cloth with tiny and little dots. However. the word might also come from 'tritik', a Javanese word, which means the resisting dying process, where it has to be tied to a certain area. 

Production: There are generally two ways to produce batik designs.They can be hand printed - they hand draw the wax onto the fabric, a very remarkable but slow and expensive way. Or they can be block printed, which still takes amazing skill and craftsmanship, but is slightly less time consuming. The art of batik has been practised for centuries in Indonesia and is an integral part of ethnic life and religious ceremony. This intimate knowledge of the batik process is what makes the Indonesian artists the talented leaders in their field. 

 Check out this video to see the full process of making batik fabric. It really shows you how much time and energy is put in by the people hand-making these incredible fabrics.

Cotton Patch Batiks

At the Cotton Patch we sell a large array of different Batik prints and colourways, and these come from different suppliers. The three main Batik suppliers we use are Hoffman, Island Batiks and Wilmington Batiks.

Hoffman Bali Batiks are designed and made specifically for quilters and home sewists. Each yard is made by hand at the Hoffman batik factory in Bali. The motifs (artwork) of the batiks and colourways created for the hand-dyes originate with textile artists in California.The artwork and colourstory boards are sent to the Bali factory, where master craftspeople produce the fabrics using age-old methods of dyeing and wax-stamping with a metal stamp (also known as a "chop"). You can see Hoffmans batik factory and their process in the video below!

Island Batiks 

Island Batik currently employs 80 to 100 community members who transform the white base cloth into the spectacular designs and colours for which Island Batik is known. All of the fabric dyeing is done in their own manufacturing facility in Bali, which is centred in a small village. Men and women of the community perform the management of the plant, as well as all of the production processes. Men perform the stamping of wax onto the fabric, dyeing, washing and drying. The fabric is left out in the rice fields, where good sunlight is essential to ensure strong colour. The women are in charge of quality assurance, folding, bolting and packaging of the cloth. 
The cotton batik is rolled by hand onto cardboard bolts, which are manufactured by families in the surrounding district. Originally, the fabric boards made in Los Angeles were sent to Bali, which was an expensive process. Community members were included in discussions to develop a new fabric board utilising local raw materials. The talented craftsmen rose to the challenge and within a few days presented an acceptable prototype, which is now a new industry in the village. Island Batik is now producing only 100% recyclable bolt boards!

Since its debut in 2011, Wilmington Batiks has become a popular supplier of beautiful, fine quality batik prints for the quilt and craft markets. All of the Wilmington batiks are produced in the South Pacific (an area known as Batavia during colonial days but now as Jakarta). Batavian Batiks are premium hand dyed cotton batiks from Indonesia. Each batik is made with a time honoured process native to Indonesia. The stamp is hand crafted and the fabric is hand dyed making each yard a true artistic expression. 

More collections:

To see all of the batiks that we currently stock at the Cotton Patch, follow this link. If you are spoilt for choice and want to try a little bit of everything, check out our Batiks Charm Pack which has 40 5" squares taken at random from our current selection.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about batiks and if you have any projects on the go using our fabrics, please send them to us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram so that we can share and inspire.

This gorgeous creation is a W.I.P by Olivia, the youngest of our Cotton Patch crew! Aren't the colours stunning!

Happy Creating <3


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