Can Batik be both an art and a craft?

Well it’s certainly an art as I explain below. And it remains popular today amongst crafters making beautiful jewellery and items of clothing.

Batik is a dyeing method using hot wax to create patterns and designs.


This method makes use of a “resist technique”. That is, applying selected areas of an item with wax (a dye-resistant substance) to prevent them from absorbing colours when the remaining area is dyed.

The wax applied is also used to control colours from spreading out from a particular area to create a pattern if the dye is then painted.

The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs.

After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the item is ready for wearing.


The art of decorating using wax and dye has been practised for centuries and is often part of an ancient tradition.

Evidence of early examples of batik have been found in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia and India from over 2000 years ago.

The word batik originates from the Javanese “tik” and means “to dot”.


In central Africa “resist dyeing” using cassava and rice paste has existed for centuries in the Yoruba tribe of Southern Nigeria and Senegal.

Kenyan bone artists use a batik wax dying method to convert discarded domesticated cow bones into truly striking jewellery.

By creating works of beauty for export to the world market from what many modern cultures would perceive as waste material, Kenyan artisans use elements of their heritage and assistance from UK-based Fair Trade importers to progress in a rapidly changing world.

You can see examples of Kenyan Batik Jewellery on The FAIR Trade Store’s website.


Batik is a traditional method where a design is applied using hot wax, then the object is dyed and the dried wax is removed to reveal a distinctive and unique silhouette of the wax seal.



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