Exploring the artsy roots of Malaysia…
A staycation is always a wise choice when you have a short weekend with no travels lined up. You spend enough time exploring what’s in your own city rather than travelling outside. Last month, we spent a good deal of time checking out the art-laden roots of Malaysia. Yes, we are talking about the traditional form of painting, namely batik painting.
Batik is a beautiful form of fabric painting done with wax and colours. There are different spots at Kota Bharu for the same. The following description is of the Cultural Centre of Gelannggan Seni (hands-on experience) and Nordin Batik (demo). There are a number of cottage industries dealing with batik along Kubor Kuda, Kampung Putih and Kampung Badan as well.
A tour of the batik painting are at Nordin Batik
To make the best of our staycation while my sister came over to visit us, we thought of trying our hands at this form of art. We used to watch our Mom do batik painting in a dedicated room, constantly warning us not to touch the hot pan of wax when we were young. The form out here was a little different though and quite interesting too. They make use of a pen-like mould called canting into which the wax is poured. It is released in small amounts to make an outline on the cloth. As the wax dribbles, it sets fast and steady along the length of the fabric. Once dried, colourd dyes are poured through brushes. These dyes are diluted with water as the painter strokes the brush to get the desired effect.
Watch the women at work:
Of paints, colours and dyes:
This was the best part of the batik zone. We chose our pattern and sat down in the lawn of the Cultural Centre to try our hands at batik painting. It took us about an hour to complete the pattern and we brought it home with us. It’s now ready to frame 🙂
Who says I’ve messed it up? I’m just trying to rectify it :p
Psst… An A4 size pattern costs RM 15 at the Cultural Centre and RM 20 at Nordin Batik.
A view of the batik space and activity ground of the Cultural Centre
Pieces painted in fabric make for the best souvenirs too. Be it hand-painted scarves, head gear, money pouches, bags or clothes, they are available in vibrant colours and distinct patterns. Most of the centres have a souvenir shop attached to them where they sell batik pieces, as well as postcards, moon kites, baskets, interesting artifacts, hand bags and more.
Souvenirs at Nordin Batik
Souvenirs at the Cultural Centre
We couldn’t have asked for a more engaging and relaxing tour. There is so much to explore in this little city that a weekend here is just not enough. Stay tuned for more…
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