A group of staff from the Republic of Singapore Navy gets their first taste in attempting the skillful mastery of batik painting while being patiently coached by Metta’s talented Alumni youths with special needs.
Read on as I join in the fun to bring you the insights on the art of batik painting.
39 staff from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSS Vigour) came down to Metta on the morning of 25 November 2014 for a community engagement batik painting session. The batik painting workshop enables corporate volunteers to have a feel of the complexity and difficulty of handling the entire batik painting process; what’s more from our Alumni youths with special needs, trained in this skilful field for many years to become almost an expert in the art of batik painting despite their challenges.
The class is coached by our team of Alumni youths who are well-versed in the complicated art of batik painting
Batik painting is a traditional Javanese folk art of decorating fabrics by the application of hot wax and permanent dyes to create creative patterns to an otherwise plain fabric canvas. It is a slow and tedious process that requires plenty of patience, a deft hand and extreme concentration to create a flawless masterpiece.
What looked easy and simple wasn’t as simple as it appeared. Hence, I took the opportunity, together with a blank batik artwork, to try my hand at batik painting. The last time I ever touched on any batik craft was back in Primary 5 when we had waxing and tie-dying of random pieces of unwanted plain cloths in the Arts and Craft module. It was an easy feat back then, it must be an easier feat now, I thought to myself. Or so I thought.
I joined the horde of RSS Vigour in queuing up to eagerly dip our canting (pronounced as Chanting) into a pot of hot molten wax for outlining the pencilled marks on a plain cotton cloth fitted firmly over a rectangle wood frame.
Fine little details such as the method to scoop the molten wax and wiping the base of the canting against the side walls of the wax pot needs to be observed to prevent excess wax stains on the art piece.
I must have two left feet. My wax lines were uneven with blotchy wax patches on my canvas. So much for a self-confessed arts person. I guess I’ll have to re-examine my ‘flair’ for the arts after today.
As if my waxing wasn’t bad enough, my painting didn’t do me any justice either.
The other parts of my batik drawing didn’t fare any better. Ink blobs bled beyond the poorly waxed lines and leached into neighbouring segments of my butterfly design. Much as I tried my best to apply the ‘right’ amount of pressure, picking up the ‘right’ amount of water and paint, I just couldn’t seem to get the colours to retain within the waxy outlines. Looking on the bright side, I pride myself on being one of the fastest to complete half the painting when the rest were still barely starting. It certainly is no easy feat for RSS Vigour staff who are engineers by profession, to be attempting the task of an artist.
On the other hand, the RSS Vigour staff next to me and some of his fellow colleagues did a very good job in controlling their wax lines and colour. Some were vivid with accurate colours such as this Tiger Butterfly design created by a RSS Vigour staff.
As quoted by a RSS Vigour staff, Hui, on his experience of the batik painting activity today,
“It is much challenging than I (had) expected. I never knew
it was that difficult to handle batik painting until today. But the overall experience was fun to say the least.”
And what’s further more for Metta’s Alumni youths who overcame their disabilities and self doubts through Metta’s Alumni’s cultivation of their individual strengths to emerge as talented young artists in their own right.
Through hands-on experience on batik painting, I have learnt a valuable lesson that morning:
1) The difficulty at such a ‘simple’ art work for an abled person like myself is easily attempted by the Alumni youths with special needs who face greater challenges in mastering the skill to near perfection. This shows that with strong determination and perseverance, nothing is impossible.
Nonetheless, it was a fun and memorable experience for all RSS Vigour crew and Alumni youths who equally enjoyed playing the roles of teachers in the morning’s activity.
If you like to explore a similar CSR art activity with us or if you have any enquiries, you may write in to: email@example.com