17 June 2009

Re-thinking Batik: The Language of Cloth

Now touring the US is a wonderful show called "A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama’s Mother and Indonesian Batiks" featuring some fine examples from the extensive batik textile collection of Ann Dunham. The show opens June 18 in San Francisco at the California College of the Arts and runs through June 21.

What a way to whet my appetite for pattern, as my friend Dan is just back from Indonesia and will be having a trunk show June 26-28 with all his latest textile wonders!

Through his business The Language of Cloth, Daniel brings together different styles and materials to create new batik designs. Hand-woven silks from Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand; jacquard silk from Korea, and flax-silk from Indonesia are decorated with elements from Japanese kimono patterns, Ainu motifs, European embroidery patterns, as well as traditional Javanese batik motifs. The show will also include reproductions of antique batik cloths from collectors, some reinterpreted in new colors, others reproduced exactly.
"Carbon Emissions" trucks spewing smokey mega mendung

My personal favorites are the contemporary twists added to the traditional batik patterns, like my prized Cluster Bomb sarung. A new piece this year, "Carbon Emissions" is a mega mendung "cloud" motif, with the addition of trucks and cars, in smokey colors.

I am also quite smitten with some of theses Ainu-inspired scarves:

Ainu pattern interpreted as batik ornament: batik tulis on hand-woven Thai silk, with design adapted from applique patterns on Ainu attush robes from Hokkaido, Japan

The Language of Cloth Summer Trunk Show takes place
June 26, 27, 28 11 to 6pm
650-B Guerrero St., San Francisco
415.613.9693 www.languageofcloth.com


  1. I have a few pieces of batik from Bali tucked away..wonderful and informative post!

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