BATIK to raise environmental consciousness

I love batik that tells a story. By this I do not mean the European-influenced fairytale batik of the last century produced in Java during the Dutch colonial occupation in Indonesia, that depict snow white or little red riding hood. I mean batik that tells us something about real life. I have always loved the…

Pop-up shop now open!

The 2014 edition of the Language of Cloth Pop-up Shop is now open. There are many new finds this year, and prices are still very reasonable. Open every day except Monday, from 10am to 7pm. December 2nd through 24th  

Artists who use indigo: Rowland and Chinami Ricketts

Recently I visited Rowland and Chinami Ricketts in their studio in Bloomington, Indiana , where Rowland is an assistant professor on the textiles faculty in the School of Fine Arts. “Rowland and Chinami Ricketts use natural materials and traditional processes to create contemporary textiles. Chinami hand-weaves narrow width yardage for kimono and obi. Rowland hand-dyes…

Coloring batik, naturally

I’ve looked at many batik colored with natural dyes, and often the results are somewhat dull and flat. When I saw this one by my colleague, Mas Solikhin Ahmad of Pekalongan on the north coast of Java, I jumped for joy at the liveliness of the color, all derived from natural sources, including indigo. The…

Handwriting stamped batik scarf

Instead of applying the wax by hand with the canting, the wax resist is applied with a stamp made of copper, called a cap (tchap). The dye is indigo.      

Making a “Love” cap

I tried my hand at using the canting to write with wax ┬ábut it is a long and difficult process. My friend Asif suggested that I ask his friend who is a skilled tukang cap to make a “Love”stamp. I was skeptical that it could be done. Having never seen how a stamp, called a…

The women of Kebon Indah

What a joy to visit these lovely artisans in Kebon, Klaten, Central Java. Their work is beautiful and their spirit spirit is inspiring. They are a collective (kelompok) of 169 women from a group of small villages who have joined together, pooling their resources to make batik using only natural ingredients gathered locally to color…

Batik Indigo, deeper and darker in Pekalongan

My friend and colleague, Solikhin , has been working very hard over the past three years since I saw him last. Still focused on indigo, never finding an easy solution by way of chemical dye, Solikhin has come a long way toward opening up the richness and versatility of indigo.       This is…

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