Newsletter No. 1-09 (Feb. 2009)   Page 4 av 4 / Sidan 4 av 4. [back to page 1]
Arcive/Arkiv 2007: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
Arcive/Arkiv 2008: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Arcive/Arkiv 2009: [1]


This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



Batik - resist dyeing in Madras. 
Text and photo Martin Ciszuk.

Resist dyeing is a method of patterning in which certain areas, before dyeing the fabric, are covered by a substance which prohibits the dye to penetrate and color these areas. The method is known in different variants through all times and all over the world. The Roman natural historian Plini describes in 1st century AD with wonder, how fabrics are dipped in the dye wat and comes out patterned in two colors. Fragments of resist dyed fabrics in wool and linen from Roman times are also found in Egypt. In Europe the technique was used in the 18th and 19th century by the blue printers who made indigo blue cotton and linen with reserved white designs. Some of the Indian and European cotton prints were made partly with resist dyeing - compare the originals for MYNTA and PUMPA in Durán Textiles historic textile collection. In India and South East Asia wax is often used as the resist substance to decorate cotton fabrics with advanced designs. These are often named batik- a word originally derived from Javanese where it had the meaning written or painted. In Indonesia the technique is developed to fulfillment and the beautiful cotton fabrics are popular for summer garments.

In April 2007 we visited a workshop for batik printing and dyeing in the outskirts of Chennai (Madras) on the eastern coast of India. This was a small family business where the production took place in the courtyard of the house. Here a particular form of batik with floating colors was produced – a modern development of the traditional technique made here since the 1960-ties.

The work was executed outside, under a simple sun sheltering roof made of palm leaves in humid heat of 35ºC. The wax was melted in a pot over open fire. Many designs were drawn by free hand on the fabric, which was stretched on a wooden frame on stands. Two different tools were used: one with a metal point to draw the lines of the design, another with a round head to fill out bigger areas. These pencils were made from cotton yarn and fabric but had a core of human hair, a material that could absorb and contain the melted hot wax. While giving the pointed pencil a quick turn effects of whirling dots were made.

Other designs were block printed with wax using wooden blocks where the design was created by iron pegs hammered into the block. The printing table was a flat box of sand which made a soft foundation for the printing block and absorbed superfluous wax.

The batik dyeing was performed in a sequel of different processes, varied according to the look of the desired design. If the design was to have details in white, the process was started with drawing or printing wax on the white undyed fabric. – making e.g. the stems and contours of the flowers and the whirling dots of the background. Then dye in several colors was dripped over the fabric laid out crinkled on the concrete floor of the courtyard. After this, the areas which were intended to show these mixed colors were covered with wax. Now it was possible to wash out the applied colors, which were not fixed to the fabric, in cold water. It would stay only in the areas that had been covered with wax, in the leaves and the petals of the flowers. What was intended to be the ground color of the fabric was dyed at last, either as a plain color or in several floating colors by dripping the different dyes on the fabric again. The dyes were fixated by washing the fabric in water with chemical mordents. Finally the wax was washed out of the fabric in a big washing machine and the finished fabrics were hung to dry on cords stretched over the fenced courtyard.

The craft skills of the batik dyers are impressing; with simple tools they master a complicated technique and a laborious dye process. The results are fabrics in wonderful colors and shimmering designs with the fine crinkle lines that give batik its character.

The second waxing of the fabric: The round pencil is used to fill in areas in the design. The petals of the flowers will remain in the mixed floating colors when the background later is dyed in plain color.

Printing blocks for resist printing with wax made of wood with
iron pegs for the design.

The foundation of the printing table of sand is smoothed carefully before the printing with wax starts.

A collection of batik dyed fabric in striking colors and fancy patterns.




The chief of a fabric export company in his stock in Chennai (Madras). This company organizes a cottage industry where handmade fabrics are produced by local craftsmen.

The fabric is stretched in a frame and is resist patterned with wax. The work is performed on the courtyard of the family’s home, under a palm leaf sun shelter.

The wax is melted and heated over open fire. The pencils are made from cotton yarn and fabric over a core of human hair.

The design is drawn by free hand with wax on the cotton fabric.

By giving the pointed pencil a quick turn effects of whirling dots are created.

The fabric is laid in crinkles on the ground. Dyes of several colors are dripped to achieve a floating effect.

A printing block with iron pegs is used to transfer the hot wax to the fabric.

The batik dyer here prints by free hand with wax using a wooden block.

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