Visiting The “Meeting Point” of Batik Stamp in Pekalongan

Canting is a traditional tool used by batik makers to attach malam (hot wax) to the fabric as a color barrier. On batik tulis (hand-drawn batik), canting tulis that is shaped like a pen is used to trace patterns and draw batik motives on the fabric. On batik cap (stamped batik), the canting used is called canting cap (or batik stamp) – a metal plate with a wooden handle that is designed with various patterns. It is called canting cap (batik stamp) because it is used the way we use a regular ink stamp. The difference is that the batik stamp is dipped in malam (hot wax), not ink.

In Pekalongan, there is a canting stamp shop which has been loyal to accompany batik makers for more than 40 years: Yan Canting.

“Canting stamp must be connected. It’s a must. It is a standard rule,” said Yogi, Mr. Yan’s son – the second generation successor of a small shop on Jalan Mangga no. 8.

The batik stamp’s pattern must indeed appear to be continuous and uninterrupted when applied to the fabric.

Yan Canting provides canting cap with various batik patterns which are neatly engraved on good quality metal plates. Customers can choose directly from several designs that have already been made, or draw their specific patterns to make a custom canting cap.

The neatness of the canting cap in Yan Canting seems already well known. Its customers even come from other cities throughout Indonesia.

“The most valuable inheritance from Papa is his customer,” said Yogi. In addition to selling canting cap, Yan Canting also accepts canting cap to be sold. As a meeting point, the shop that is located at the edge of the market is open to buyers and sellers of canting cap. Yan Canting even has a variety of historic sets of canting cap that are no longer used by batik makers today. “Old motives,” Yogi explained. A set of ‘old motives’ usually consists of 4, 6, even 12 canting cap.

Yogi now makes Yan Canting more accessible to canting cap fans. He made an Instagram account and Tokopedia for Yan Canting so that customers can more easily place orders. Ordering a simple canting stamp will usually take around 10-14 days.

Yogi’s biggest hope is to renovate his family’s small shop. “Choosing the stamp must be done in a calm atmosphere,” he said. Therefore, he wants to make his shop more convenient for customers to linger on while choosing a canting that suits their identities. The chosen canting will be an extension of the batik maker and become their batik identity in the next few years.

Navigating the canting cap shelves at Yan Store feels like reading a book. Yes, each canting cap does keep its own story. Can we read the story hidden behind it?