Thetraveljunkie.org – We love indigo. We also love batik so when we heard about Zahir and his love of these two we couldn’t wait for the chance to spend time with him and learn more from him. Zahir really developed his love of batik during his time as museum manager at the Batik Museum in Pekalongan. Fascinated by the history of this art form, he was responsible for Indonesian batik getting its UNESCO rating.
We spent a wonderful day with Zahir and his wife learning about how the indigo leaves are made into a paste then fermented into the dye. We used stamps from Zahir‘s collection and dyed all our pieces 3-4 times to get the deep indigo we were after. When the fabric came out of the dye it was a shade of green and I was fascinated watching it as it dried and gradually changing into the deep blue colour. We love the unpredictability of natural dyes that Mother Nature brings.
We had nasi goreng and local cakes for lunch and enjoyed some hand batiking with the traditional canting. Zahir’s wife showed us some other traditional plants and seeds for other colours too. There was a strange furry fruit which stained my fingers a bright orange. We couldn’t help but wonder whether these traditional arts and skills will continue to be passed down to new generations, brought up on a diet of flash colour and instant gratification.
While waiting for our batik to dry, Zahir showed us some of his creations and most of us couldn’t resist bringing a piece or two home.
We took our batik home to boil the wax off and were all delighted with our final results. A wonderful day with a true Indonesian treasure. My scarf ended up in Melbourne for my mertua. Sounds like a perfect excuse to go back and do it again!
Definitely a must do for those interested in Indonesian traditional dyeing, batik and indigo.
Zahir Widadi, Batik Artist
M. +62 852 2683 0199
Noyontaan 20 RT 02/ RW 06
Noyontaan, Pekalongan Timur
Pekalongan – Central Java
Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Pekalongan, Central Java.
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