A few weeks ago, a friend from Indonesia (where I was born) introduced me to the current managing partner of Irwan Tirta Batik. Mr Tirta is one of the most revered batik designers in the world and often credited with introducing batik to the rest of the world. In short, he is a national treasure in our country. Batik art is considered one of the "royal arts" in Indonesia, along with shadow plays of wayang purwa, the Javanese percussion orchestra of gamelan, poetry and other arts. Most of us know that the creation of batik involves drawing beautiful designs on cloth using wax. This is followed by the dyeing process where areas uncovered by the wax are colored. This is a tedious and painstaking process that takes months to complete.
What many don't know is, beyond the enchanting aesthetics of batik art, its philosophy is rooted in spiritual discipline of control, etiquette and harmony.In creating batik art, breathing and total concentration (elements of meditation) are essential. Controlled breathing and a clear mind is a prerequisite to drawing fine, even lines with canting(wax).
Image source: here. Batik created for the Prime Minister of New Zealand, a pattern incorporating ferns and lilies was created according to the traditional lozenge geometric composition. Mr. Tirta's work goes beyond textiles; his motifs have been realized in silverware, ceramics, fashion and other forms.
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