Batik is a resist technique of patterning on cloth which uses wax as its dye resist. The word "batik" is an Indonesian term derived from the word "Ambatik" It is a combination of "hamba" (servant) and "titik" (dots), which literally translates as the batik maker being a "servant of dots".
Traditionally, batik producers used wooden or metal blocks to stamp designs on to the surface of the cloth. Batik produced in this manner is known as "Batik Cap". The current trend however favours the use of an implement called the "Canting" which enables the maker to draw designs rather freely. This handcrafted Malaysian batik has been well received. It has its own unique identity in the world of batik. Handcrafted Malaysian Batik is exclusively produced. It is usually contemporary and modern in concept. The designs created are inspired by various elements such as traditional wood carving motifs, Sarawak ikat "Pua" design, local floral and fauna in stylized forms rendered in a spectrum of colours. Malaysia batik is now available on a variety of textiles. Malaysia batik has impacted and commands a bigger presence in the international fashion scene.
Designers of Stamp Motifs
The motifs for this series of stamps are the actual motifs produced by the winners of the prestigious Piala Seri Endon Batik Design Competition, one of the main activities of the Malaysia Batik - Crafted For The World movement. This movement was three-phased movement spanning 2003-2005, spearheaded by the late Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood, wife of the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The basis of this creation is derived from the most organic form, the roots. Symbolically, the root depicts firm symbiotic relationship motif between trees with soil and rocks. The green background in this design monopolizes the whole space whilst the leaves and trees portray the aspiration of Malaysian Batik to penetrate the global market. This design combines practical values and the aesthetics of Malaysian Batik with the intention to promote the rich, gentle yet universal Malaysian cultural values. All selected elements put together in this design are combined to present batik as a world class creation.
Batik creation should use contemporary materials. This thought triggers the concept of this design. Freehand strokes or "Canting" technique are still widely used in order to get a truly exclusive impact. Malaysian flowers such as orchids and ferns have inspired this design. The use of bright colours enliven as well as increase the exclusivity of this design. The silk fabric used adds to the beauty of the batik and has drawn international attention ti Malaysian Batik.
The design for this stamp which is based on the colours of the national flag, focuses on the effects of wax crackles. Crackles or "retak seribu" happens as an incidental outcome of the seepage through the resist wax during the multiple boiling in the dying process. This crackling visual textures are then combined together in a series of overlapping colours which are rendered using the "dry-brush" technique. The overall creation aim to reflect a blend of influences inspired from the design elements in the textiles originating from the Malay Archipelago, China and India. They are essentially a composite heritage from the various ethnic components in Malaysia.
"Pucuk Rebung" and "Bunga Tanjung" are two of the more commonly used motifs in traditional Malay decorative designs especially in woven fabrics. These two are combined and adapted in a stylized geometric floral arrangement in order to create contemporary designs without jeopardizing their originality. The wax crackles and multiple layering techniques are again the emphasis in the design execution. Vibrant colours are preferred to create a strong visual impact for a lasting impression.