Tjap (pronounced “chop”) batik is a more “modern” batik method.
Java (Indonesia) is largely given credit for developing this technique that makes it possible for images to be duplicated many times … and fairly quickly.
In the beginning tjaps were carved from wood. Now they are formed with copper strips and welded onto a sturdy steel frame.
Designing for batik
Computers aid with placement and pattern repeats.
The artist’s sketch is traced in red ink onto wax paper and marked with a grid.
There is a corresponding grid on the copper frame and the tjap maker duplicates the artwork as he bends and snips the copper strips.
The bits and pieces are then tapped into the copper frame that is later welded to a heavy steel frame. The maximum size for a tjap is 14 inches square.
It can take up to one week to complete a tjap depending on complexity of design.
Several rows of copper strips are placed side-by-side where the image will be solid.
One edge of each strip is snipped (like a comb) and the tynes are bent so melted wax will be held inside the tjap longer and release slower.
As the tjap comes in contact with the fabric melted wax is released.
More wax is needed for the solid areas than for outlines.
Dyeing the fabric
In the batik factory that we visit, fabric is dyed by rolling back and forth through a dye vat until the desired color is achieved.
It must then be “fixed” so the color stays vibrant.
A tour guest tries tjapping rayon batik.
Pre-dyed, tjapped fabric gleaming from the wax that has sealed in the blue color.
Next it will be either dyed darker or bleached to produce a dark image and light background.
Wax applied by hand… “Secret Weapon”
A bundle of straw is dipped into hot wax…
…then tapped against a stick to spray wax onto the fabric.
The wax seals in the base color much as a tjap would.
Wax is removed with boiling water.
No chemicals are used and the wax can be re-used.
The color sealed in by the wax is revealed.
Fabric is often over-dyed to achieve a particular look and it’s always manipulated beforehand in Benny’s factory.
Another manipulation technique: pleating.
A dyed-to-match coordinate for the batik is possible by leaving some pre-dyed fabric free of wax.
Wet fabric is hung on tiny nails to dry. This is part of a fabric order for The Batik Butik. It is rayon designed primarily for apparel sewing.
Some dyes require the sun to mature them which poses a challenge during the 6-month rainy season.
The fabric runs through a drum dryer to warm the fibers before hand-bolting it.
Hand-bolting the fabric.
The late Benny Gunawan: dye technician and the “brains” behind the factory (also known as “The Bali Lama”).