Today Aina seemed to be better and her fever had gone down. So we decided to go ahead with the batik class at the Rumah Budaya Tembi. Well, actually since we cancelled the yesterday’s class, the class had to be conducted at the teacher’s studio, which was not at Tembi.
With help of Rumah Budaya Tembi, we went to the house/studio of Batik Tulis Sidomukti in Desa Giriloyo, Imogiri. The ride to the studio itself was already an adventure for the little Singaporean girl… she had a lot of fun seeing paddy fields, birds, chickens and cows hanging out on the side of a steep street. And she finally saw how warung looked like…
Batik Tulis Sidomukti is owned by a family. The mother and the son are the batik artists. Mas Akhyar, the son, was our teacher.
Other than doing batik, they also own two competitive Ayam Bekisar… and they’re beautiful! I have never seen a real life Bekisar before…
Even thought they’re beautiful (black glossy coat, glistening with green-ish and purple-ish shine), Ayam Bekisar is actually prized for their crowing sound, not their look. We also got to hear a short demo on the roosters’ crowing, which sounds very different from the domestic roosters.
Mas Akhyar gave a full explanation to us about the roosters and how complicated their breeding process. Ayam Bekisar is basically a cross between a domestic hen with a feral jungle rooster. And it’s not easy to get them to mate, because you see, domestic hens do not hang out with jungle roosters… So, he said, what they do was to find feral jungle eggs, put them together with the domestic hen’s eggs so that they would hatched together with the domestic chickens. When they grow up together and live in the same area, there are more chance for them to mate. But of course, it would only work if the egg hatched to be a rooster. If the egg hatched to be a hen, they would take them back to the jungle, and started the process all over again. So tedious…
Before we started, Mas Akhyar had already prepared a few sketches on the white cloth for us to trace. Aina chose the drawing of a pigeon, while I decided to do the flower.
He also showed us the wax, and explained that there are actually a few different waxes used in the making of Batik Tulis. The wax used for drawing outlines are different than the wax used for fillings. Same thing for the canting (the pen used for drawing the batik), there were a few different ones: for fine line, for filling, and they even have for double-line. And we could try out all the different cantings while we were there.
Then he taught us on how to work the canting: scoop the hot wax from the wax pot carefully… We don’t need to fill up the cup in the canting completely, just a little bit of wax is fine. And when you take it out of the pot, wipe the excess by the side of the pot to avoid spilling. We then wait a little bit for the point to cool down before we can start drawing. When the line had become thinner, that means it was time to refill the canting. Sounded easy, right?
Well, even though the drawing process was sooooo much fun to do, it was actuallly much harder than it looks. Sometimes the canting drips, spilling wax onto our canvas and ruined our drawing. So we had to think of a way to cover up the spill… And we couldn’t even draw an even nor a straight line, hahaha. But it was addicting, nonetheless.
It was sooo much fun that we ended up going to seconds. I ended up tracing another design, a shark. Aina decided to make her own design of a rose for her second piece. And Ari, who wasn’t interested at the beginning, ended up drawing his shishi… And everyone agrees batik making is addicting.
Mas Akhyar told us to sign the batik drawing with our names, which is kinda cool.
After we finished drawing all the design, Mas Akhyar started the dyeing process. He had 3 bowls filled with liquid. One was water, the other one was an affixing agent, and the last one is the dye. He first dip the cloth in to the water, then the affixing agent, then dye… and back into the water. After all of our cloth had been dyed, he boiled some water, dip the cloth into the hot water to get all the wax out and hung the cloth on the clothing line to dry.
And our batik is done!
On the way back from Jogja, we asked Aina, which part of the vacation was her favourite… and of course, her answer was, “The batik class!”
Before going back to the hotel, we decided to have some snacks at the Tembi restaurant (burung pipit goreng!), and played some congklak next to a paddy field. Zen!
Photos of today is in Batik Sidomukti 2015 photo album at Flickr.