Celebrating my blogs birthday with loads of Batik related things to read, watch and to enjoy!
Still from Maracosa by Papermoon puppet theater
Today my blog turns 13 years. It been quite the journey! From a travelblog, to a place where I could share my new inspirations and interest on batik to a more research- and update-based blog all about my journey to Batik.
While I promise myself to update my blog regularly, I have so many places where I can share my stories now that they hardly find their way here anymore. Buttt, I can update you, dear reader, of where you can find my stories, what else I have been up to and what other exciting batiks things are out there.
So Selamat Hari Kartini, Happy birthday to my blog and enjoy!
Batiks at Maison Amsterdam
Display of Batiks at Maison Amsterdam
Photo by Sabine Bolk
In January a new blogpost for Modemuze went online. In October we visited the exhibition ‘Maison Amsterdam' at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Because there was Batik on display, I suggested to make a more in-depth blog about it. My post went online during the lockdown when museums still were closed. The exhibition ‘Maison Amsterdam’ was made around the theme ‘Freedom’. In the exhibition Batik is shown with loans by wearers & with a suite by Guave. In my post I highlight the wearers of the Batiks shown and unravel some myths. In the exhibition a photo of one wearer is shown, but another photo of a wearer was send to me when I contacted the family. Both have an interesting story to tell, but for me the most remarkable aspect is how they are displayed. Let’s take look. The one we start with is most prominently in the display. A sarong & kebaya on a mannequin owned by Ida Glasius and on loan from granddaughter Arletta Kaper. First thing I saw was that the batik was displayed upside down, and that it was not a batik, but an early silkscreen printed textile. Batiks displayed upside down (on & offline) are a common mistake here, but there was more…The only photo of a wearer in this display is that of Ida Glasius. Ida wears a similar loose kebaya on the photo and a different Batik, but it is also upside down. Both sarongs have a Garuda pattern; one with only the wings, Lar, and one with the complete bird, Sawat, Garuda motifs are usually worn with the wings pointing up. You can compare it with a horseshoe, upsidedown is bad luck. Whether Ida Glasius wore the Batik upside down as a fashion choice, statement or by mistake, we will probably never find out, but an interesting story never the less.
Since writing my post for Modemuze I have found more photos of wearer with their Batiks upside down and also saw another sarong on display upside down, online, at Kunstmuseum in Den Haag. Something to explore further, perhaps there is a simple explanation for it or it is just a very common mistake...
Photo of Ida
Credit: Arletta Kaper
The other Batik is from Fientje Hanna Hahury Lawalata. Fientje’s sarong is a little more hidden in the display. A pity, since it is the only real one that is signed. It was photographed by Amsterdam Museum. In the kepala is the signature ‘Nj Gan Kaij Bian’, also known as ‘Gan Kay Bian’. In the NMvW collection is similar batik from this batikentrepreneur (TM-5663-1180). The family send me a photo of Fientje wearing the batik posing together with her family. It is very special to have a photo of the wearer. We can date the batik better, since the photo is taken around 1947. Fientje wore sarong kebaya every day, even after migrating to the Netherlands. Her family let me know they found it so special her clothing was being displayed and think Fientje would be very proud.
Display with loans by Norma Hahury and Arletta Kaper
Photo by Sabine Bolk
Sarong signed by Gan Kay Bian
Credit: Amsterdam Museum
Fientje Hanna Hahury Lawalata with her mother, husband and daughter.
Credit: Norma Hahury
Student takes Batik out of Indigobath at HKU
Photo by Sabine Bolk
After the last lockdown, giving workshops is up and running again. Next to finally returning to De Vrolijkheid for a fun workshop creating Colour-Fans, I have been giving Batikworkshops. First one of the year was a last-minute-short-intro on Batik for Artstudents at the HKU in Utrecht. The students had a week of learning about Blue, dyeing with Indigo, blockprinting, Shibori organised by Craft Council Nederland and I gave Batik. The creations made in the morning were dyed blue synthetic & natural by the students themselves.
Batikworkshop at Cultuurspoorhuis in Middelburg
Photo by Sabine Bolk
Removing the wax
Photo by Liesbeth Labeur
End of last month I had a three day mini-batik-holiday in Middelburg. I gave two days on two locations the workshop and removed all the wax on the third day. We had to reschedule this workshop twice, but very happy it could finally take place, in good company & with such good weather. Thank you Liesbeth Labeur for organising, thanks Pennywafelhuis & Cultuurspoorhuis and thank you to the participants.
Documenting each others Batiks at Lunteren
Photo by Sabine Bolk
Right after returning from Middelburg, I gave an evening workshop at Stichting Ana Upu hosted by Mantelzorgpunt in Lunteren. I gave a talk there in October and they asked me if they could also get a Batikworkshop by me. We had only two Monday evenings, so I adapted it to fit our time-schedule and was amazed what we could create in just 3 hours basically. My oldest participant was 93, although she found it a very difficult technique she still created several small pieces of Batik. I loved that at the end of the second evening everyone was making photos of each other’s work.
In January I gave a talk for CIHC on 'An overview of Peranakan Batik in Dutch Museums' and a little visual trip to Lasem. It was great to share how to access the archives and how to find these beauties kept in Dutch depots. I was also honoured to be a speaker between a Batiklegend as Ibu Widianti of Oey Soe Tjoen, Ibu Idrawati sharing her Gan family Batiklegacy and scholar & collector Christoper Ng.
Business card for Suze Zijlstra designed by me in front of original design
Two years ago historian Suze Zijlstra asked me if I knew someone to design her business card. She wanted something maybe with batik and referring to her research & upcoming book ‘De Voormoeders’. I sayed I would love to do it. When we had our first lockdown I started designing her card. A year later her card was printed and in September 2021 her book was published. Since up till now Suze did not had many opportunities to hand out the card, I thought it would be nice to share the card, the inspiration & her book in a Batik Consultation video. We talk in depth about one of Suze's ancestors, Tan Kim Njo, and the batiks that she wore. And how those batiks inspired the business card I designed for Suze.
Now online on Youtube
Batik Consultation with Suze Zijlstra, historian and author of the book ‘De Voormoeders’ that was published last year. We talk in depth about one of Suze’s ancestors, Tan Kim Njo, and the batiks that she wore. And how those batiks inspired the business card I designed for Suze.
I am so exciting to share this news here. I have two talks this upcoming May. First one on 3 May, Tuesday evening, at the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Austria. My first talk abroad since the start of the pandemic. I have given talks on international stages these past two years, thank you, but this one will be for a live audience on location! I am so happy I get to share my research of the past couple of years here and dive into the depot during my visit there.
My second talk will be for The Association of Dress Historians Annual New Research Conference 2022 for their New Research in Dress History Conference held offline at National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and online. My first conference! I feel like a proper researcher now ;)!
In my talk 'A Batik collection fit for a Lady' I will share my current research in which I focus on the wearer, especially on ladies that were of European descent who dressed in Batik sarongs themselves during colonial times in Indonesia. Extensive collections have been kept in the Netherlands, privately and in museum-collections. These kept batik-collections provide us still with new interesting insides and different angles to share this history. For this presentation I focus on 41 batiks that were donated by Jonkvrouwe Anna Cecile Aurélie Jeanne Clifford, Jonkvrouwe as in damsel. The donation is an unusual wardrobe for a lady that apparently had never been to Indonesia herself. The batiks most likely belonged to her mother, Theodora Adriana Lammers van Toorenburg, who was born in 1852 in the former Dutch East Indies. This collection provides us with interesting insights into what was worn by whom and how the wearer can provide us with provenance that is often overlooked in batik-research.
One of those things I wish to visit myself. The exhibiton 'MARACOSA' by Papermoon Puppet theater at the moment held Omah Budoyo in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It runs till 10 June 2022, so if you nearby Ayo! I saw the stunning puppetshow they made online, all about Batik and how the love for it need to be passed on to a younger generation for it to survive. It make me cry out loud, so beautiful and strong. A must-see if you can!
Display of 'Fake Batik', object selection by my at De Lakenhal
Exhibition 'Kleurstof' at Textielmuseum in Tilburg dives into the world of colour. It includes recreated old recipes (which I tried one of), the routs of colonial trade (which I worked on too) and much more.
As always your blog leaves me wanting to read or hear more of your insights into the wonder of Javanese batik, THANK YOU.
I greatly enjoyed your discussion, with Suze Zijlstra author of the book, 'De Voormoeders', which included fantastic insights into the batik cloths worn by her ancestor, Tan Kim Njo. As Suze indicated, she as an historian searched/researched written /recorded sources and you complimented these with the reading of the rich interpretations of the batik motifs embellishing her ancestor's batik skirts, wonderful.
Your development of Suze's business card was also a great story. I adored the batik from John Ang's collection with the 'angles and flowers' motif, as I did the other motifs that influenced your final design. It certainly is an extra special card holding personal significance for Suze, beautiful.
Thank you most sincerely and I hope your two talks in May are uplifting experiences. I look forward to reading more about each topic. My best always, Greg.
thank you so much for your kind words, as always, your feedback and compliments are so nice and really give me a boost to keep on sharing!
Indeed the batik from John Ang's collection is stunning, I was so happy he send me the photos to use in the video. My talk in Vienna went really well and I am hoping I can turn some of the things I told there into articles soon. Will make a post of my visit here.
Thank you and Salam Canting, Sabine
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