Saturday, August 17, 2013

Jakarta Jive

After Singapore, Martha and I headed to Jakarta to hang out with Lincoln, see some sights, and do some batik making and shopping.

First, we hit up Toko Maju in Pasar Mayestik so that Martha could experience extreme crafting claustrophobia amid the buttons and zippers:

Then we took a bajaj ride home (riding in the newer, natural gas powered blue bajaj was a first for me!  I had only taken the super-polluting orange ones previously!):

The following day we headed to the Textile Museum, which had long been on my list of places to check out.  The Museum itself consists of mainly batik (and a little bit of ikat) and doesn't have a ton of English signage, but we were able to muddle our way through with my limited Bahasa Indonesia skills...  They also had a cool natural dyes garden displaying all the plants historically used to make dyes for batik.

While at the Textile Museum, we took advantage of the opportunity to try our hand at making batik in the Museum's workshop.  We made batik tulis, which is the hand-drawn batik. Here's how the process works: we used a light table to trace some floral designs onto a square of cotton, stabilized the fabric with an embroidery hoop, then set about applying the hot wax to the fabric using the canting (chan-ting), which is a little fountain pen type thing: a wooden handle with a small metal receptacle on the end for holding wax and a teeny spout out of which the wax flows.  You dip the canting in the hot wax (kept hot over a little burner as you see below), wipe off the excess, and apply it to the lines you traced or drew on the fabric.  Everywhere you lay down the wax will remain white after you dye the fabric later.

Dudes, this is harder than it looks!  Martha and I both ended up with several messy drips of wax on our fabric, screwing up the design a bit.  The wax dries really quickly, and once it's on the fabric, it's on there for good, no erasing, as it seeps into the grain of the fabric. 

After you are finished outlining your design, then comes the dye process.  First, our friend here painted the outside edge with paraffin.  Then he mixed up the dye (not the natural dye, as it takes several days of soaking for the fabric to absorb the plant dyes) and tossed our fabric squares in:

After the dying process was complete, our friend brought the fabric over to a pot of boiling water (mixed with something caustic, as I understood...baking soda, maybe?) to melt the wax off the fabric:

Then, ta da, we had our batik, a little wet still, but finished!:

Martha's is purple, mine blue.  You can see the splotchy parts where we messed up, but it adds to the rustic charm, no?

While our batik dried, we took some silly photos next to the statue of a giant canting in front of the workshop:

Here's us with our finished work, as well as us with a friend we made at the workshop.  He was from Medan and was taking a two day batik course while in Jakarta.  His batik motif consisted of an under-the-sea theme with fish and sea plants, so everyone call him the fish man:

We made the obligatory trip to Monas, the national monument, where we had our photos taken with some tourists from Sulawesi (didn't get a shot of that, sadly, but I will refer you to similar paparazzi incidents here and here):

Also, we hit up Taman Fatahillah, which was pretty quiet during Ramadan. We took a tour of the Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum), which was pretty cool and then quenched our thirst at the overpriced but atmospheric Cafe Batavia, the colonial era bar/restaurant:

Not pictured, but we also spend some time sitting in Jakarta's notorious traffic, of course.

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