Batik Kartini – Indonesian Heritage in Urban Style
Born of the founder’s love for beautiful traditional textile that possesses strong historical identity and meaning in each crafted fabric of Batik Tulis, Songket, Tenun, Ikat etc from all over Indonesia, the intention is to open the eyes of the people all over the world towards the rich and beauty of the culture in Indonesia through traditional textile that is redesigned in relevant urban style that is dynamic and modern.
Every traditional fabric (Tenun and Songket) is produced by traditional machine operated by hand that brings a remarkable signature of craft.
The production process is done in several steps. The choice of the thread as the material to make Tenun is extremely crucial because each type of thread varies. Some made from cotton, rayon even fleece. Next is “menghani” or to honour is to arrange the thread balls on top of the Tenun machine. Then other complimentary thread would be tied on top of the “hani” to form a motif which would later be dipped in colour dye. After that process, the motif is rearranged again with hand and machine to begin the weaving process.
It takes up to 2 weeks to make a piece of Tenun fabric if it is done by one person in the six-stage process. The production process can be expedited if the team is made up of six persons with each responsible for each step.
The key to a high quality Tenun fabric is the colouring process that uses natural dye dominated by brown and orange colour from parts of certain species of trees such as the Mengkudu tree or Indian Mulberry.
Songket and Tenun fabric requires the highest level of detail in its making. Each process takes tenaciousness, diligence and patience. If done in a hurry, the result would not be at its best.
The painstaking making process clearly puts the price of the Songket above other fabrics. The time to make one Songket will take up to half a month or even one month. That is not including the design of the motif. Due to the complicated weaving process, each fabric can sometimes take months to finish. Some exclusive Songket fabric can take up to three months to finish while more ordinary Songket only take 7-14 days.
Similar process also with the Batik Tulis (Hand drawn Batik) which are also done through steps that uses Canting, a special equipment that holds special wax ink in high temperature for writing on fabric. The drawing process takes extreme care due to the sensitivity in its equipment. Once the Canting process is completed, the fabric is immersed to separate the ink and the wax before being put out to dry in the sun. Then the fabric is ready to be sold.
As explained from above, the traditional textile is handcrafted by hand, not by machine which takes the craft to its highest level. 80% of the making is done by women with age range from 12 – 70 years old, where for most of them would be their primary source of income in their family. Indirectly, these women are trained to be independent that takes a key role in providing for their family.
Batik Kartini, in using authentic traditional textile from all over the archipelago, aims to preserve the country’s heritage as well as to sustain the craft and the craft people. One of the way to preserve this craft is to increase its appreciation through International Exhibition such as this ‘Indonesia Weekend’.