Matara Batik workshop


Tropi Turtle's Batik Workshop, 02 March 2014


Last Sunday was the first time for me to organize a Batik workshop. It was also the first time for the tiny workshop of Polhena's little Batik shop Donal Batik.

I went with three girls from Austria, one from Germany and with my son Wiene.

Since long i wanted to organize Batik workshops.

I visited some long established Batik shops in Matara.

One of them was already organizing workshops.

These shops seemed already been doing well without

me ..


Then i saw the faded sign of Donal Batik in Polhena

village itself.

The sign has been replaced this summer, but still its

more a family house where they show you some Batiks

than a real shop.


It took me some time to explain what a workshop is.

That foreign tourists would actually wanna make some

thing themselves, working for it.

some thing a Sri Lankan would not be interested in.


But when they understood, they said they could do it.

Long time i was too busy to check it out myself, so

when the day came my guests asked for it, i was still a

little bit unsure if the would be able to explain it all in



But apart from the funny little mistake of mixing coffee

and tea together when i hoped for both, Donal Batik

did a great job last Sunday.

it is definitely an activity to recommend.


Not only will you have a nice day and a selfmade

souvenir to bring home, you are also supporting a

small village entrepreneur.

Curvy backroads took us to a hamlet about 5 km from


The workshop was a low wooden house/shack

in wich some of the familymembers lived.

We were welcomed in an open area, were we soon

began drawing our designs on a big table.


They had some ready made designs available, but the

girls were far to creative for that and had apparently

all a well thought out plan about what they were

going to make.

They were so eager to do some active work that

when we after an hour or so were offered coffee,

they politely refused.

I made a design for TropiTurtle's first uniform skirt.

The girls all made very complicated and creative

designs and had several colours in mind.

I didn't expect that at all, i thought that maybe i had

to come up with some ideas.

I think even the people from the Batik shop were

impressed by the final outcome.


After the design we went sitting around the hot wax

pots and were thaught how to put on the first layer

of wax.

everything untherneath this first layer stays white.

We put on the wax with sort of a brush made out of

metal wire.


Then it was time for lunch, fried rice. Food and drinks

all was included.

coffee, cakes, buns more than we could eat.

After lunch we went back to work.

After the first layer of wax came the first colourbath.

Then drying and another layer of wax.


At several moments the familymembers came to check

if we were still using the proper techniques and to

show us how to make it better.

They also thought along with the outcome of the

design the girls were making and thaught everyone

the techniques that best fitted their design.


I had someone standing by to babysit Wiene, cause i

didn't expect that Wiene would want to stay the

whole day.

But Wiene didn't get bored, there were children

around and at the end of the day they had become

friends. TropiTurtle's Esther