I pleaded guilty for underestimating Jakarta’s museums when I was still living there. After the school years, I was almost never been to any museum in Jakarta. School (grade 3-12) made us go as a field trip where you have to take notes and do reports afterwards. Some were dreadful, some were just OK. Is it because the museums back home are boring and not very stimulating? I hate to say ‘YES’ cause: 1) I haven’t been to all museums in Jakarta thus I can’t really say they are boring, 2) Boring compared to what? To the Smithsonians in Washington DC? Well, that’s not fair.

Having two children who are half Indonesian, I really much so want them to know about Indonesia. Hubby feels the same way. So on my last trip home, I stopped by at the Museum Tekstil or Textile Museum in Jakarta to learn how to do batik painting. Our soon-to-be 6 year old daughter, Davi, has a great passion for art. Not only she draws well, she also loves doing other form of art. Hubby and I were thinking to teach Davi to do batik painting in the future, using her own drawing as the pattern.

So there I was, in good ol’ Jakarta. In the midst of the craziness of my sister’s wedding preparation, I stopped by at the Textile Museum. My sister had warned me and Mom to pay really close attention when we’re in the neighborhood of Slipi (KS Tubun street), because the sidewalk in front of the museum’s filled with street vendors. It was very hard to look for the sign, but the building’s really scream ‘MUSEUM!’ with the old Dutch colonial architecture for the white color building. I really think they need to repaint it,  looked kind of worn out and dirty. The mature trees around the museum helped a lot on a hot sunny day.

After paying the entrance fee (no more than $5), we were waiting by the front door for further instructions. Whether we can just go ahead and come in by ourselves or should we wait for a ‘guide’. After a while, we decided to go in by ourselves. The museum itself is not very big, with several ‘rooms’ to display not only patterns from all over Indonesia, but also variety of textiles, including batik. Some of them were very old, looked so fragile and kept behind glasses. The museum which was built circa 19th century has a traditional weaving equiptment on display as well.

Behind the museum, was a wooden house with big windows which served as the class for batik painting lesson. The house has a beautiful garden which has trees used for the painting (roots, leaves, or fruits). All the equiptments are rather traditional, more like hands-on activities. With a mere payment, you can choose either for an intensive class (will take a week) or just the short one (a couple of hours). You’d start by choosing a pattern to be traced onto a fabric. Beginners like me better choose a simple one, like a single flower. After that, then you’ll start painting your fabric with the melted candle using canting (like a pen with the hot candle in it). I thought it’s going to be a piece of cake, but man… was I wrong! Between trying not to get the hot candle all over me and how to handle the canting appropriately, it’s not THAT easy to do batik painting. The next step is the coloring process and it’s pretty much done by the instructor, just tell them what color you’d like to have. Done with coloring, your artwork will be hanged on the wire to dry it off (told you it was still traditional) and soon ready for you for a keepsake *considering you done a good job*  They also sell the batik painting equiptment which I purchased for my daughter. I think it was like $10 for a little stove, a little wok, one canting, and the candle.

Here’s some pics of the museum: 

The Forgotten Textile Museum

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