Tips and useful information to help buy batiks during your travel in Sri Lanka
Batik is a distinctively Asian variety of fabric print. Historically, batik workers were provided royal patronage and over generations, this unique craft was handed over to the children of the families. Batik is known to be very colourful, and is inspired by nature as well as court and royal life.
The process of batik is quite elaborate. First, wax is applied to the cloth in distinct patterns using a pointed tool. Repetitive patterns can be stamped on using a waxed stencil. This waxed cloth is now dyed and then put in hot water to remove the wax. The dyed and non-dyed colours will now be displayed in a vivid pattern. Artisans may even use multiple dyes to create more complex designs.
Batik print clothing is very popular in Sri Lanka where beachwear, shirts and sarongs made out of cotton and silk can be easily found. You can even pick up tablecloths, wall hangings and bed covers as souvenirs. Despite the cultural importance, batik printing is still a cottage industry catering mostly to tourists. These small-scale industries usually employ women and so promote social responsibility and women empowerment. If you are shopping for batik, visiting one of the small-scale factories to learn about batik techniques would be a good option. Batik items can also be found in most tourist-friendly areas such as Galle, Kandy and Colombo.