In Europe, batiks are chiefly used for interior decoration; table covers, screens and lamp-shades being more popular than costumes decorated by the process. It is also used to a certain extent in book-binding, on paper and on parchment. Practically the same methods are employed when batiking these materials as for woven goods, but experimenters are advised to take the greatest care when handling paper, which of course. when wet, tears very easily.
To batik parchment it is necessary to first soak it, in order to make it pliable, then whilst wet, it should be stretched on a piece of plate glass, slightly larger than the parchment, and glued at the edges with strips of paper binding. When thoroughly dry the design is pounced on or drawn in with pencil. Before starting to apply the wax the glass must be warmed from the back, in order to make certain of an easy flowing of the wax; if the parchment is cold it will be found that the wax congeals too quickly and will not be workable. The parts of the design to be left un-coloured are covered with wax as usual, and a little wall of clay is built around the edge of the glass; this forms a bath into which the dye is poured. The col-our is allowed to soak in thoroughly and the dye is then poured off, the process being repeated if the tone from the first bath is not intense enough; other colours are applied in the same way. The wax is then removed by sponging carefully with gasoline.
Aniline dyes are used chiefly and occasionally acids which produce colour by their action on each other, are employed. Vegetable dyes are popular in Holland on account of their permanence, the Dutch being almost as particular about the durability of their work as the Javanese. This is natural when one remembers that, there, the batik art is considered in the same light as painting and sculpture, and frequent exhibitions are held for a public whose attitude toward the craft is very different to that of many Americans, who do not yet appreciate the art as an art.
Beside public interest, the government of Holland has done its best to stimulate the study of the craft. Experimenting stations are maintained, where free of all cost, the artist can have his batiked design dyed and he is given all the information and help that he wants. This, of course, means a great deal to the beginner who knows little or no chemistry, some knowledge of which is quite essential to one who would become a really expert dyer.