SYNOPSIS:  How I failed miserably at the attempt to create my own batik.

You can stay in Ubud forever if you were to try all the opportunities offered to learn something.  You can attend silver-smithing workshops, weaving or cooking classes, learn how to make offering baskets from coconut leaves, or have some wood-or stone-carving masters show you a few tricks.  And of course, there are workshops in how to make batiks.

These workshops come in all sizes from a few hours or one day to several weeks.  You can be sure about one thing: all of them come with a hefty fee.  I could not leave without trying.

There are various places to choose from but a place called Nirvana sounded the most promising.  A master of the arts and a local activist (now retired) lives there with his wife and runs a beautiful homestay.  He has trained an assistant who now runs the workshop.  My partner in craft was Lynn from the US.  She is in her seventies.  This is her fourth trip to Ubud, specifically to do batiks.  She was way ahead of me with her steady hand applying the wax to beautiful and intricate designs as I was slobbering unintended blobs all over the cloth.

It is a good experience to see how difficult things are — it makes you realize that the prices that are charged around here for intricate and unique designs are justified and often (by our standards) by far underpay the artists.

For a day I was both in Nirvana and in hell.  What disappointed me most was that the colors I applied to my design almost made something out of the mess I had created with the wax, but then, after fixing and washing, they retained a mere hint of what they had promised.  A deep burgundy red for example, popped up as light pink!  At that point I conceded defeat.  Perhaps, next time…

Enjoy the images. 

4 comments so far

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  1. This sounds like a wonderful place to stay for days to try the different crafts. I hope you return some day and give batik another try for I bet that you could do it.

  2. Money well spent (better than dolphins)!

  3. Hallo, Tochter, ich freue mich über die vielen Fotos von dir, die kann ich morgen- Sonntag – zeigen. Wir machen ein bisschen Vorgeburtstag. Einige aus der Familie werden kommen. Montag bin ich dann bei Josi in der Jurte, die ja auch Geburtstag hat. Dass du enttäuscht bist über dein Batikergebnis, kann ich mir vorstellen, macht aber nichts. Du hast es probiert. Lieben Gruß! Mutter

  4. It kind of reminds me of the mud-painting you did in Mali…trying the local crafts stuff is a great idea.