Batik Malaysia, the batik textile art is one of the signature artwork and handcraft in Malaysia, popular on the east coast of the country especially in the states of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu. Leaves, flowers and abstracts are the most common and popular motifs used by local batik artists. The concept of the local batik design is mostly in light, vibrant and bold colored with large floral motifs. On the other hand, designs and images with human or animals are very rare due to the fact that Malaysia is an Islamic country which does not have such practice.
In the older times, batik is seen only as craft while today, in the modern time, batik is used widely as part of lifestyle products, being appreciated as art pieces and also as contemporary fashion to many. Batik Malaysia nowadays feature a more daring, bolder and more designs as compared to traditional batik. There are two major types of batik in Malaysia namely the hand-painted batik and the block-printed batik. The differences between the two types is the production techniques, motifs, designs and the tools used.
Batik Malaysia with hand-painted designs are well treasured in the country. For this type of batik, the designs are drawn on the chosen and prepared fabric. A number of fabrics can be used including cotton, linen and rayon. It is advisable to wash the fabric in order to remove any attached dirt and sometimes to boil the fabric to prevent any fabric shrinkage. Designs are drawn on the prepared fabric with liquid wax by using a metal object called canting. Once the outlines are completed, the batik artists will use brushes to paint the dyes within those outlines. Different shades and hues can be created by using brushes, depending on the creativity of the artists. Floral or abstracts motifs can be patterned on the fabric in different layouts. Hand-painted batik usually come in two meter length or four meter length, often produced as garments for formal wear.
Another type of batik Malaysia is the block-printed batik. Unlike the hand-painted batik, canting will not be used and replaced by copper block instead. In some cases, wooden stamp with patterns on the bottom will be used. The steps involved are quite simple in which, the block will be dipped into the wax and then print onto the prepared fabric. Thereafter, the fabric will be dip-dyed and the wax will be removed in order for creation of a single color batik. For the creation of multi colors batik, there will be different blocks involved with repetitive of dying and de-waxing steps. The common fabric used for block-printed batik is cotton and usually come in about 20 meters of length, depending on its original size. Many types of shirts and dresses are produced for casual wear through this method.
In comparison, hand-printed batik process is slow, time and energy consuming while the process for block-printed batik is way faster and more suitable for commercial purpose. However, block-printed batik is usually similar in shapes and designs as the same block might be used repeatedly on a big piece of fabric, whereas the hand-painted batik portrays uniqueness in designs. Thus, the hand-painted batik is usually more expensive as compared to the block-printed batik.