Aprat Koeswadji at work in his studio

Aprat Koeswadji in his studio, with his co workers
Aprat Koeswadji in his studio, with his co workers

I went to visit Aprat Koeswadji again in his studio in Yogyakarta. He was busy at work on numerous different batiks at various stages of creation.

Aprat Koeswadji working on silk, using a mixture of beeswax and tree resin,
Aprat Koeswadji working on silk, using a mixture of beeswax and tree resin,

Seeing Aprat creating his highly expressive and vigorous abstract batiks on silk was fascinating.
He worked at such a pace, with free flying brush strokes , I wondered if he had time to think where he would paint wax next. Observing him though, I saw that his work was considered and not random splash painting, he knew what was needed to make the work “punch out ” and then “pull back “.

Aprat working on a silk batik with paraffin wax, for crackle and beeswax for linear definition.
Aprat working on a silk batik with paraffin wax, for crackle and beeswax for linear definition.

There were short moments of contemplation when he would pause, then he’d heat up the canting with his lighter, blow hard at the spout to clear it and set off again, this time using the flowing line of the canting to add lightness and definition.
He worked from all directions, sitting crossed legged on the floor, he turned his frame round and would re-work his batik upside down. Once the first waxing was complete he would move straight on to the next; silk all ready stretched onto a frame by one of his assistants.

Aprat working on cotton.
Aprat working on cotton.

While I watched him he waxed six batiks, in about twenty-five minutes ! Then he would stop, have a cigarette, a coffee and chat with Tatang and his friends / co workers.

A cotton batik being  re-waxed by Aprat.
A cotton batik being
re-waxed by Aprat.

Aprat quite happily ignored me while I filmed him work and wasn’t at all bothered, so I felt comfortable and at ease and not an intruder into his “creative process “, as maybe Agus Ismoyo would put it. I took many photographs of him waxing and his assistants dyeing and rewaxing his work as well as three short films, it was a very productive and interesting afternoon.

First minute of a new batik by Aprat Koeswadji.
First minute of a new batik by Aprat Koeswadji.
One of Aprat's  friends and assistant dyeing his work.
One of Aprat’s friends and assistant dyeing his work.
Aprat clearing the canting spout.
Aprat clearing the canting spout.

Unfortunately I couldn’t upload the little film on my blog, but it is a real insight.

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4 thoughts on “Aprat Koeswadji at work in his studio

  1. Thank you so much Marina for all the wonderful posts you are sending. I am so interested in all the Batik artists you have met and the variety of work they create I hope you are enjoying your busy days and get some time for yourself too love Jo

    ======================================== Message Received: Nov 30 2013, 06:49 AM

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  2. My goodness but I would LOVE to work like that….bare feet ….a big ‘canvas’ and assistants ! Bliss. Looking forward to seeing your little film one day. When do you fly home?
    Love Jane x

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  3. Hi Marina thank you for taking me with you on your journey to Indonesia via the blog! Your photography is excellent, and you write so well. What an amazing trip! It has been fascinating to see and hear about the many places you have visited. Looking forward to seeing you on your return, and wishing you a safe journey home on Dec 6th. Love Jan.

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