Discover Bali’s textile art: Ikat & Batik

July 28, 2016
ikat hand weaving

In this third post about Bali, I am taking you to discover Bali’s textile art: Ikat & Batik. I have always been fascinated by hand crafted work, especially ceramics, but I am also an occasional sewer when I am not in the kitchen or shooting. So I also love beautiful fabrics and was delighted to discover the island’s textile culture. If you are visiting Bali and want to redecorate your home, you will be able to find some beautiful items. Thus I have listed a couple of things you can do slightly off the beaten track. 

ikat thread

Ikat threading at Tenun Ikat Setia Cili



The Ikat is “a method of dyeing and weaving wherein the drawing is created by first dyeing the weft yarn, of all colours that will be included (or just one), and at very specific intervals. So at the time of weaving the design elements are created by the juxtaposition of parts of the thread of the appropriate colour. To dye the yarn, a tied thread hides the parts we want to preserve from the dye colour. Then the yarn is dipped in the dye. This action is repeated for other colours.

ikat hand weaving

We were not to sure where to go in the first place. So we asked our guide who took us to Gianyar: it is the place to go to visit traditional hand weaving mills. We were not disappointed by our visit. We loved everything, especially to see how the fabrics are made at the back of the shop. The mill is located outside and there are about twenty looms. There were a few women weaving at the time of our visit. It was fascinating to see them work and how the patterns reveal themselves on the fabric. You can buy fabric by the meter, cushions, bags, table runners, scarves and garments. Prices are not cheap but the quality is amazing and these pieces make beautiful authentic presents.

Tenun Ikat Setia Cili

Tenun Ikat Setia Cili

ikat hand weaving

ikat hand weaving

ikat hand weaving




It is a technique of painting a design onto a piece of fabric (generally cotton) where you apply wax before dyeing it. The dye colours everything except parts under the wax. So if you apply more wax over the first dye and so on, you will get different shades of one colour. See below a series showing the different steps of the process (the brown colour is the wax). Once you have washed the wax off in a hot water bath, you can see the white coming out revealing a unique handcrafted pattern.

For our last day, we decided with Céline to explore our creativity with the Batik technique at Nyoman Warta Batik Class. We spent a whole afternoon learning the basics with Nyoman and his son in their courtyard. Nyoman gives you lots of guidance and helps you draw if you don’t know. It is best to arrive with a clear idea in mind of what type of pattern and which colours you would like. We had a great time and would love to deepen our knowledge during a next trip. Now I need to make a cushion with it!

batik dying

Céline and I at the beginning of the class


batik process

Batik process




IKATBATIK, Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud 80571, tel: +62 361 975 622.

This spacious showroom (3 rooms) presents a wide selection of amazing products from cushions to table runners, bed spreads or wall pieces to decorate your home in style. All of them are made of cotton and most of them combine both hand made techniques with different patterns and hues of blue and white. All are natural colours and dyes. I could not resist buying to pieces for my farmhouse tables.


IKATBATIK showroom


ikat batik

IKATBATIK showroom


Two of the oldest weaving mills:

  • Tenun Ikat Setia Cili, Ciung Wanara 7, Gianyar 80511, tel. +62 361 93409 (see photos above and below)
  • Cap Togog, Jl. Astina Utara 11, tel. +62 361 93046


ikat hand weaving

ikat hand weaving

I hope you enjoyed reading about this beautiful textile art and do not hesitate to share if you know of other addresses in Bali!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Textiles workshops: printmaking & natural dyeing | Little berries & co May 12, 2018 at 10:00 am

    […] I talked about this wax resist dyeing method in a previous article about Bali’s textile art here. Nyoman is a great teacher with lots of patience. He helps you draw your pattern and then dye […]

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