December 6, 2022

Pulang before pulang*

Ibu Ramini after the interview

Dyeing of batiks at Batikworkshop Lumintu in Lasem

Posing at Mbak Eka's house wearing the scarf that was made for me

Have been back now a week and a half and still need to land. But had a great return with giving a Paper Sarong workshop and attending the launch of the new Guave collection.
My last week on Java was a week with many ups & downs, but overall feel very lucky. I knew I had to ‘pulang’ before I ‘pulang.*
I returned to Lasem with the main plan to refilm Ibu Ramini’s interview. I wasn’t happy with the first take & was so glad I could do a reshoot. Ibu Ramini was much more at ease. The renovation of her house started and I was so happy to see her Javanese house being renewed. While interviewing Ibu Ramini this time, although she isn’t of much words, I saw her proud smile. Before we left, Ibu Ramini gave me a hug, the first one I think. This visit alone was worth the return to Lasem. 

Batiks hanging ready to work further on the next day

Being back in Lasem, apart from being in a place that inspires me so much, I got to hang out with some really nice people & sleep at a dream-location in Lasem. Mbak Eka of batikworkshop Lumintu invited me to stay in her home together with Miss Tasya, the enthusiastic batik fan/batik fashionmaker & wearer/apprentice of Mbak Eka. 
Waking up in this beautiful home where every day batik is being made was a present. The house breath history, keep thinking of how generations in the past lived here and so greatful to be part of the new history being written there. We had such a good time with many laughs, some scares, but overall it was amazing. Mbak Eka and Miss Tasya are sweet and true Batik heros! Terima kasih banyak! 

Pembatiks at Batikworkshop Lumintu working 
while Mbak Eka checks which Batik need what next

Covered in wax, ready to be dyed

All batiks were washed before dyeing, with regular laundry detergent. And I say regular, but that Indonesian one is a very strong one!

Nothing without smoking. Mas Heru is preparing the dyes

Yellow dye baths need extra care and diligence to get an even colour. 
Batiks with a yellow background colour are therefor more pricey ones

Mas Heru and Mas Khosim conitiuing the dyeing together

After drying, the wax can be removed. 
'Lorod', literally boiling out is done in boiling water

Wonder if Mbak Eka gets inspiration from the beautiful tiles in her house

I was also nice to revisit Oom Soesantio together with Mas Agik of Museum Nyah Lasem. Oom had a surprise for us, 5 boxes filled with caps from his fathers batikworkshop!!! 
The caps from 1930-1950’s give an interesting insight in what was produced once in Lasem. It was extra special since most caps formed a complete set. Batik Cap was done on both side of the cloth, so you need to mirroring caps to stamp the design. Usually they are sold separate, so this collection is really special. We documented all, me taking them out and matching them & Mas Agik carefully photographing them. In the meantime Oom Soesantio shared stories in Dutch with me. Grateful I got to document all this and excited about uncovering this story. Wonderful to find out about this local batik history and looking forward what else I can find about it here in the archives and collections. 

Documenting Batik Cap 

Mas Agik photographed them all in pairs

While I was at Mbak Eka I got to see many steps of the batik making process that gave me much insights. Next to the drawing of the batiks, the dyeing was done at the house, which is great to see and ask questions about. But what was also great was to see more of Mbak Eka’s work. Checking which batiks needs which steps, which colours and which new ones needed to be started. Learning about mistakes, quality controle and the overview you need to keep to get orders done on time. Mbak Eka started with her Christmas items on my last day. When I first saw her Christmas items online, I though it was so strange. Now I know how important it is to Mbak Eka and I think it is so great she takes the space to bring new, fun designs into Batik. 
While I was away in between visit, a scarf was made for me. Next to my name it is decorated with classic motifs like latohan, melati and grapes. Posing with pembatik Ibu Sutimah when it was finished was a cherry on top of my stay.

Mbak Eka drawing the new designs 

Christmas Batik designs

And one with romantic cats

Posing with Ibu Sutimah, the pembatik who made my scarf 

Happy got to end my 4th journey to Batik with a stay in Lasem. Although my journey ended on Java, for now, I will be working further on my exhibition for Erasmushuis; editing the videos I made on Java, designing the actual exhibition, making the program and much more. I will keep you posted of course. For now mark 2 October 2023 in your calendar as the startdate of my exhibition 'Masa Depan Batik/The Future of Batik' at Erasmushuis in Jakarta, Java, Indonesia!

* pulang to return (to go) back, to go home

Ready for the next dyeing session

Finished and partly finished batiks

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