4 years ago1,000+ Views
Exploring the small alleys in Kauman in Surakarta is like traveling back in time, with old houses adorned with walls, large windows and doors and vintage ornaments in abundance. Kauman is a small village in the city's downtown that can be accessed easily via the main street on Jl. Slamet Riyadi. The existence of Kauman begun with the construction of Kraton Surakarta's grand mosque, which was built by Pakubuwono III in 1757. The settlement was initially intended provide homes for the great mosque's scholars, also known as kaum. This later became the area's official name. Kauman is located close to Pasar Klewer, a traditional market that sells fabrics and which later helped popularize batik craftsmen and merchants in the area. Presently, many batik craftsmen reside in Kauman as businesses are passed down from one generation to the next, strengthening the place's reputation as a tourist destination. Today, the area is commonly called Kampung Batik Kauman (Kauman Batik Hamlet). Aside from shopping for batik, in Kauman visitors can observe the creation process and even make their own batik. In Gunawan Setiawan’s batik galleries, for example, visitors can watch craftsmen painting batik patterns on fabrics, a process that requires precision and patience, using ink made of hot liquid wax. The painting tool is called canting and it works similar to to the way a pen does. Batik can also be painted using a stamp technique, which utilizes copper plates that have been engraved with batik patterns. Candle layers attached to fabric serve as the barrier that isolates a single section of the fabric during the dyeing process. Batik dyeing uses natural ingredients found in leaves, bark, fruit seeds and rinds. The colors that appear are natural colors, such as yellow, black and brown. One particular pattern is called Sogan, which is one of the main designs in traditional Surakarta batik. The whole process of making batik usually takes around one to three months, depending on the complexity of the pattern. In the past, batik was used by the Javanese to signify social class. Wearing batik added prestige to a person because batik was considered a masterpiece of fashion. The patterns depicted in batik also have philosophical value, as they are closely related to the cultural life of the Javanese people. There are some batik patterns, for example, that are only suitable to be worn at certain important life events, such as birth, marriage and death. Though presently there are many printed versions of batik fabrics made using factory machines, true, original batik is still created by drawing patterns on fabrics using candles. The difference between printed batik and authentic batik is apparent in the prices. A printed batik can be purchased for about Rp 50,000 (US$4.27), while original batik starts at Rp 250,000 and can go for millions of rupiah. Visitors of Gunawan Setiawan’s batik galleries can choose to make their own batik using the original technique; the process begins by drawing sketches of batik patterns, painting them using wax, and then adding colors. Open on weekdays only, this particular workshop is very popular among foreign tourists and students.
@keshie oh ok cool c: it was a camp kinda near me when I was in middle school
@AgentCory no I haven't and this article is written by one of our contributors. what summer camp did you go to?
this is so cool @keshie! I remember doing a workshop making batik shirts at summer camp one year but I had no idea there was so much history to it, thanks for sharing! have you done this yourself?
Gorgeous!! I'd love to try this one day.