April 14, 2017

Batik Statement: First Pattern Edition

With this blogpost I'm starting a new series of 'statements' in which I try to explain the meaning of a pattern or motif. During my journey on Java last year, I noticed that every dot or line on a Batik has a name. Sometimes the Batik as a whole represents something, but also every individual detail has its own name and meaning. To learn a little more about Batiks and their story I thought it would be nice to capture their meaning in 'Batik Statements'. 

We start with 'Parang'. There are different 'Parang' motifs but they look very similar. It is a repeating pattern, traditionally in brown, black (blue) on white, that goes diagonal over the cloth. The white forms a wavy line framed by dots and separated by diamond shapes in between.
The name 'Parang' comes from a type of machete or knife. The white waves on the cloth are build up by S shapes. A 'Parang' knife is shaped in the same way. 
The special thing about 'Parang' is that this pattern was a long time exclusive for royality. For instance, the Parang Rusak (‘broken knife’) motif could only be wornu by those in the Yogyakarta Kraton (the Court), the royal family. Today 'Parang' is probably the most famous Batik motif from Indonesia and a very popular one. My dear friend Denny Antyo is a big fan of 'Parang'. It is actually the only motif he wears. He gave me a funny gift which inspired me to make this statement: Parang motif cleansing nose strips! The other inspiration came from the online queens I follow. Not royalty, but the lovely ladies doing drag. So by honouring these queens I unintentionally made the first 'statement' that explains a motif!

"Sometimes I wish I was a fashion blogger, instead of a...is there a title for a Batik loving, history digging, art making Blogger? It took me quite a lot of time making these pictures and I think I'll stick to my kind of blogging, but I really liked making this post!" 
                                                                                                                            -14 April 2012

Five years ago on this day, I posted my first 'Batik Statements'. The photos I made were a tribute to fashionbloggers, but were also a kind of joke. I made the photos in and around the house, trying to get the bloggerfeel of pretending to be a model in a homely setting.

I had no idea people would like it so much. I got a lot of feedback, which after my first journey to Java hardly happend. I started asking people to share their 'Batik Statements'. I called them that, because I wanted people to make a statement of wearing Batik. I started receiving 'statements' by email and through Facebook. In 2012 I not only made my first 'Batik Statements', I made also new ones for the Batik Day, Hari Batik, contest on 2 October 2012. Later that year I held a 'Batik Statement PhotoShoot' at animal park Taman Indonesia.

Now five years later, I can't believe all the things that followed. I received dozens of 'statements', I made two fashion shows, gave presentations, made live 'statements' and even online tutorials. And last year I actually went as a blogger to the Jakarta FashionWeek 2017!!

To celebrate this 5th anniversary I'm actually making a little booklet! In the booklet will be all my 'Batik Statements' from 2012 - 2016. It will be limited edition!!
Pre-order your copy at sabine{at}sabinebolk.nl and you will receive first option to buy it!

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