Last Wednesday (25th of Jan 2012) I gave a souvenir to Mr. Rötting, KAAD Representative in München. And I thought it was a good way to introduce Indonesia culture to him. He told me, that I supposed not to give him a present, but after I explained, that it was just a little souvenir, he could accept it, and said that I am also an Indonesia cultural ambassador. I even wrote a letter to him, about how to maintain the Batik, here is my letter :
Dear Mr. Rötting,
Here is a souvenir from my home town Jogjakarta (Indonesia) which is called BATIK.
It is traditionally made by hand-writing of Batik makers, so it is locally called as Written BATIK (or Batik Tulis).
BATIK is also a symbol of Indonesian national cultural heritage (UNESCO has also given its acknowledgement to batik as a world heritage in 2009).
People like to wear batik due to their elegant designs and attractive motifs. For those people their precious batik will only be worn at special occasions like wedding or formal receptions, religious services, state ceremony, etc. While for ordinary occasions like going to work they also like to wear batik although not the exclusive ones.
For both purposes above, batik maintainance plays an essential role.
Quality batik, specially hand made batik (locally called batik tulis) or combination between other patterns with hand made type, are made of natural materials like bee wax, gondorukem (resins of pine trees), and resins of trees belong to Shorea sp.
Batik with its beauty and uniqueness as a fashion material has been utilized in various designs world wide. The elegant colors of batik need proper treatment and maintenance so that their uniqueness, attraction, and value can be restored for a long time.
Here are some tips for batik preservation.
1. Batik Washing.
Batik should not be washed using washing machine. Washing machine may damage the fiber and colors of batik, so hand washing is recommended when you wash your batik.
Batik colors, specially of the handmade batik, are made of natural dyes. Those colors can’t stand chemical detergent we normally use for our daily laundry. There is special detergent to wash batik which are made from natural materials like klerak or soap fruits (scientifically named Sapindus rarak) or Nilam or patchouli leaves (Pogostemon cablin).
2. Squeeze some soap fruits or patchouli leaves in water until they make foam. Add some water if necessary. Soak batik in it and hand squeeze it, particularly at areas where you think is dirty.
If you can’t find soap fruits at the market, you can buy ready for use batik cleaner (which are actually contains those natural ingredients) at the stores down town.
3. Hang batik on a hanger inside out. Gently straighten it out to uncurl the wrinkled parts on the wet batik.
4. Don’t dry batik under direct sun to avoid bleaching effect of sun rays,but put it hanged under shady place with flowing breeze instead.
For batik which is made of silk fabric, dry wash is more recommended.
5. Batik Ironing.
When ironing batik, do it on the inside part of it. Direct ironing on batik motif is not recommended.
If direct ironing has to be done due to strong wrinkles, spray some water, then put a layer of fabric as a transitional layer to protect batik from getting direct heat from the iron.
6. Batik Keeping and Maintenance.
Wrap batik and put it inside a transparent plastic bag.
If the area where you live is a favorable place for moths to live, there should be prevention against it. To ward off those disturbing moths you can put some peppers and wrap it with a piece of tissue paper. Put it in the plastic bag where you keep batik.
7. Wearing Perfume on Batik
Alcoholic perfume may give negative effect on natural color of batik. Put a layer of fabric on batik area where you want to apply the perfume and spray it on the layering fabric .
I hope that those tips will help maintain your batiks to be always in good condition, vibrant, and valuable.
I hope you will enjoy wearing this Batik Tulis.