My Amazing Life-Chapter 8, Jadi Batek

All trip long I had been waiting to visit the Jadi Batek factory in Kuala Lampur Malaysia and buy Kim Batek material. I have know our entire 35 year marriage that she loves Batek and she has many blouses and dresses from Batek. She told me four different colors to look for and to buy 2.5 yards of each color. As we traveled through Thailand and Malaysia I encountered many other souvenirs that were of interest, but this was my main objective and as we went there our last day I was getting nervous I would not attain my goal.

 

Various Batek Material

Various Batek Material

 

As we entered I saw that front of the store’s width did not do it justice. It went on and on and had many areas that displayed the art and a retail side. I could have spent thousands of dollars on their goods and was almost overwhelmed with the myriad of choices available. I wanted one of everything and had to keep slapping my face to wake up and realize I couldn’t buy that much!

 

 

Rolls of Batek Material. I bought 13.7 meters worth!

Rolls of Batek Material. I bought 13.7 meters worth!

 

There it was. The stacks and stacks of material that I could choose from. I was astonished at the choices and how many shades of the colors that I was to find existed. If you look close the red and white roll above, third one in on the top of the bin on the floor, was my choice. Kim loves red and that was the first color I was to look for. Not a surprise. The clerk was very helpful and unrolled each and every choice to see if I like the overall pattern. Great customer service I must say!

 

 

Batek Shirts

Batek Shirts

 

I walked by the men’s shirts already sized and sewn. Man I loved a certain green one, but knew that Kim could probably make one or two for me, as I purchased twice as much material as instructed with two of the colors. Maybe next time. It had the Nomadic Texan written all over it and would have gone great with the green pineapples and palm trees in the hat band on my Panama hat!

 

 

Various Batek Materials

Various Batek Materials

 

Another section had wall hangings from the material and I was very tempted to buy one or two as the fascinating designs and colors drew me in. I wanted them badly, but my credit card was screaming “No More” you old man!!! Besides which wall was available at our house and where would we put it. Wasn’t to be this time.

 

 

My Batek Artwork

My Batek Artwork, Even Autographed!

 

As we entered one of the shop managers gave us a tour and led us through the assembly area where I learned this is all still done by hand and not made by machines. I was totally flabbergasted and couldn’t believe this. It really hit me how much time and effort go into this process. Then I learned we were going to do our own Batek print. We were given a choice of various designs to paint ourselves. You must know I am not talented or patient and I looked at this process as more than a challenge. I really didn’t think I would complete it. You use various sized brushes to apply the paint depending on where the paint is applied and what size the area is.

 

If you apply too much it bleeds over into the next section and thankfully a process can remove most of the mistake. Obviously yours truly did this many times, so I kind of learned how to correct my mistakes. I was given a one on one instructor to “help” me. Thank God she had patience! A Japanese film crew was there and filming interviews with various shoppers. They interviewed me and the held a camera of mine to record my video. As usual the Japanese people were awesome and so nice. This is my first attempt at placing a video in my blog. Please do not laugh too much. It is rough!

 

 

I would rate this experience as one of the top 5 things I did in Kuala Lampur, even though the tour only takes about an hour. The factory is a great place with an assortment of goods that will take a good day to look at, if you really are a “shopper”. I highly recommend you attend but watch out, you might blow out your credit card. It would be easy to do!

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.

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26 responses to “My Amazing Life-Chapter 8, Jadi Batek”

  1. Great that you were able to pick up something for your wife that she really wanted and could use. Looks like a cool process.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Ted,
      Yes I was and it is a very cool process. Great artists. Thanks for not commenting on my video! Ha!
      Mike

  2. I wish I could do free hand drawing. You did a good job on the video and the art work. I would go crazy on buying fabrics too since I love to sew. I totally understand & sympathize with your smoking credit card in that store.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Neva,
      Thank you kindly for your comment on the video. I was very nervous in placing it in my blog post and having my first video up. I wish I could free hand draw also, but alas I will have to stick to writing! Thanks for stopping by.
      Mike

  3. Interesting. I have not previously seen the name of the art spelled that way. Usually batik. Either way, we saw some lovely batek/batik while in St. Lucia. It really is a lovely art form.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Doreen,
      I haven’t seen it spelled that way either before and thought it was only Batik. Maybe it is from the Malaysian dialect, but I am not sure. Thanks for stopping by.
      Mike

  4. Jackie Smith says:

    Good for you going to what Joel would call ‘a material store’ — the sound of which alone would cause him pause. Beautiful fabrics and what a tough decision it would be to choose just four. Thanks much for stopping by TravelnWrite – hope to see you back again soon.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Jackie,
      Yes it wasa “material store”. That is hilarious. I think I like Joel! Thanks for stopping by.
      Mike

  5. Donna Janke says:

    Interesting place. I think it would be fun to try painting batek. The materials in this store look gorgeous.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Donna,
      It was fun, but very challenging for this old man. I kept having the colors bleed over and had to keep washing them out. It was a lot harder than it appears. Thanks for reading the post.
      Mike

  6. What beautiful fabrics and what a thoughtful husband!
    Best, Irene

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Irene,
      I try and yes the colors were amazing. They stood out and filled my eyes with grand illusions of what could be done with the material! Thanks.
      Mike

  7. Patti Morrow says:

    You did an amazing job on your batek! (are you sure it’s not spelled “batik?” I’ve never seen it spelled that way, but I’ve never been to Malaysia…) Seriously, your design was very nice — I’ve won awards and sold many watercolor paintings and also taught classes, so I’m a fairly good judge. Kudos on the design and great story!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Patti,
      That’s the number one comment/question. Yes that is the way they spell it in Malaysia. I had always seen it as Batik also. All I actually did was paint in the colors. We got to choose from many designs and I thought this one was the best. It was hard to paint within the lines and my paint kept bleeding over the paraffin outline into the adjacent portion. I had to repair many an issue. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to viewing examples of your watercolors!
      Mike

  8. Uh oh. It would be dangerous for me to visit this store as I have aspirations as a quilter and I already have a stash of too much material. I do enjoy visiting stores where some of the wares are made on site. We visited a silk and embroidery operation in Hoi An, Vietnam and a marble cutting factory/store south of Danang. Unfortunately, the artisans were on vacation for the Chinese New Year, so we didn’t see them in action. Your enthusiasm for batek (batik?) comes through in this piece and video.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Suzanne,
      As most have inquired, in Malaysia they spell it Batek not Batik like we are used to. I love visiting artisan factories also and saw several in Ecuador and the pewter factory in Kuala Lampur was amazing to visit. If you thought one could spend money at the Batek store you should see the pewter retail store. OMG it’s unbelievable and quite pricey! Thanks for bringing me back in and for stopping by the post and commenting!
      Mike

  9. Nancie says:

    Hi Mike…I love batik and have several draws full of wall hangings and material. Once I move to where I know I will be forever (haha) all will get framed and hung on my walls (wherever that may be!)

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Nancie,
      We are all used to Batik and not Batek as they spell it in Malaysia. I thought I would use their spelling and almost every person responding has brought that up. The wall hangings were amazing, but the credit card could only hold so much! Ha! Thanks for stopping by.
      Mike

  10. Viv and Jill says:

    Looks like a shopping trip to Malaysia needs to be in our near future!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Viv and Jill,
      It was amazing and I really had to place control on my credit card! I could have gone wild! Ha! Thanks for stopping by and Malaysia was great for me!
      Mike

  11. I love Batek material and purchased scarves for my mother and aunts when I was in Malaysia. I didn’t visit the factory but like you would probably have had to rework few mistakes. Good for you for giving the hand painting a try!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Michele,
      My sincere apologies. I have been getting so much spam, I wasn’t aware of your comment until just now. I feel awful. Thankfully my admin I (think) has remedied the issue and I am deleting my thousands of spam. I came across your comment and truly appreciate your thought. If you get back to Kuala Lampur I can’t recommend the factory enough. Really great products. Hope all is well with you.
      Mike

  12. Freya says:

    Hi Mike that looks indeed like a great tour. Very colorful material.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Freya,
      It was interesting to learn how “real” Batek/Batik was made. I was in awe of the artist and their free hand designs!
      Mike

  13. I got my start in fashion making batik clothing many moons ago. I worked with a factory in the Philippines for 20 years, and loved the inexact nature of the process, you were never quite sure what the end result would be. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. It’s great to see the craft alive and well in Jadi Batek!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Alison,
      That is an amazing background. I love the Philippines and started going in the early 70’s, as a buyer for Six Flags amusement parks. I loved the country, but was not aware that they produced Batek/Batik products. Thank you kindly for letting me know this and for stopping by my site!
      Mike

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