Friday, April 30, 2010

Adina Batik Shop

While driving my motorcycle around one fine Saturday morning, I happened upon the following kampung house/shop.  Adina Batik is a both a shop that dyes cloth using the batik method and a retail outlet in the Kuantan kampung of Tanjung Lumpur, across the Kuantan River from Kuantan town.  Batik is one of the more famous craft skills in Malaysia, but there are few home-based businesses doing the craft, making my "discovery" a pleasant one.

I first got into batik when I moved to Malaysia.  I purchased the book Batik in the Start-A-Craft series, written by Joy Campbell.

I also took a one-day class from a lady who showed me the basics and got me started.  For our first (and only) project, my daughter and I took new white cotton pillowcases and made simple designs using hand-held copper wax pens (called cantings or tjantings) that allow for freeform design, and simple copper block stamps that provide a consistent pattern.

The Adina shop uses only cotton or silk, and as shown in a photo, the material is stretched out onto a wooden frame where the freehand designs can be drawn in hot wax.  Dye is painted on, by hand, allowing for fine detail and a mix of colors.  After fixing the dye with chemicals in a vat, the wax is removed through washing with hot water.

Inside the house is a one-room retail outlet with an excellent assortment of both material, and finished products, mostly women's outfits and men's shirts.  The prices are very reasonable for such high quality work.  A short-sleeve shirt is around RM85, while long-sleeve runs RM95-120.  The material is sold in 4-meter lengths (typical) and around 1 meter wide, and runs around RM230 for silk, with cotton costing slightly less.


  1. Nice of you to write and promote the batik. Some of our Malaysian craftsmanship die a natural death due to the fact that we are rather poor or slow at promoting, advertising as well as marketing. It took someone likes of Late Datin Seri Endon to bring back the popularity of batik.
    Hopefully more bloggers promotes Malaysian crafts..

  2. Yes! And the boat builders of Kuala Terengganu...such a sad story. I have friends outside Malaysia who want batik material sent to them, not the mass-market stuff, but the hand-crafted material.

  3. Psst..I was born and brought up in Pulau Duyong, Kuala Terengganu.. My late father was a boatbuilder. He was very close and also a neighbour to Haji Abdullah (his lot was taken over by Haji Abdullah when he retired due to old age; with his consent of course), the famous boat builder.. where can I get onto the sad story you mentioned..

  4. I was commenting on the fact presented in a documentary about Haji Abdullah and the other boat-builders, that there are few interested in learning the craft before these gentlemen pass away. Is it true? Are there apprentices who will carry on this skill? Such a wonderful legacy needs to continue.

  5. It is true, unfortunately. When a group of school drop-out start as apprentice back in 70s they were paid 1-1.5 ringgit per day equivant to 7-10 ringgit now. It is heavy work and even now I believe as an apprentices you can only get 10-15 ringgit per day.
    Cengal wood is what they normally used to make a good boat and it is very expensive, although it was harvested in our jungle..the tax, amount you pay to get timber concession etc.. all lead to higher cost.
    Then you have the middle man who help you to sell the boat (help to take away your profit as well). In the end, the boat maker make paltry sum for their hardwork.
    If one can earn 2 or 3 times more as an office boy, I believe there is little chance we can attract anyone to be an apprentice in this industry .
    If anybody want to safeguard the Malaysian boat making industry, serious effort to reduce boat making cost or increase the price of finish product have to be in place.
    At the moment, every body who can make an impact to the boat making industry survival may be too busy with their own agenda

  6. where can I watch " documentary about Haji Abdullah and the other boat-builders"?


  7. Hi Teak,

    May I know do you have the contact for this Adina Batik?

  8. dear Teak,

    May i ask the contact for Adina Batik?

  9. Alex, sorry for the late reply. Here is the phone number that I have for Adina Batik: 016-980-9839