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Batik'ing: Our Way of Sharing the Stars with You

Posted on June 07, 2013 by Jesse Schiller | 0 comments

yoga headband: hand dyed organic cotton

It’s with tremendous pride and ear to ear smiles that we’d like to introduce you to the latest addition to our Batik collection: the ENSO black batik. Dyed by an artist’s hand right in downtown Los Angeles, these beautiful headbands look star-tlingly like a magnificent night’s sky – constellations and all.

Fittingly, long before we dreamed of creating our own hand dyed accessories, we fell in love with the art form of batik. It was whilst visiting the artist’s city of Yogyakarta (pronounced Jo-Jakarta) on the island of Java in Indonesia that we first encountered batik’ing. Turns out, it’s the unofficial worldwide home of batik’ing and has the density of artists to prove it.

We spent several days in Yogyakarta learning about batik as we traveled from one artist’s studio to the next. Two things were clear from the onset: first, batik’ing is a very labor intensive art-form; second, the amount of love that goes in is directly related to the amount of love that comes through in the final piece.

Mt Merapi hike with KOOSHOO founders

Rach and I looking down to Yogyakarta from the summit of Mt. Merapi,
the world`s most dangerous volcano

Here’s a basic breakdown of how it’s done:

1.  Begin by stretching your canvas and tracing a design using pencil.
2.  Next, trace over the pencilled areas using wax (these areas will not take dye). This is done using a tiny, funnel-like instrument that steadily releases wax onto the canvas.
3.  Wait patiently (perhaps a spontaneous dance party while you wait) for the wax to dry.  
4.  If you’d like some color to creep into the waxed areas, gently scrunch the fabric, thus lightly cracking the wax.
5.  Place the fabric with wax intact in a dye bath.
6.  Set aside to dry, break out the dance moves one more time.
7.  Once dry you can either add more wax and repeat or crack off the wax and celebrate your piece of art.

How to Batik

Batik'ing: hot wax being applied to fabric (photograph by Sol Maleu)

One of our great finds from our year of travels through Asia was a hand done batik art piece by one of our favorite artists from Yogyakarta. It will be cherished forever from our time spent in Indonesia's cultural capital. 

Fast forward a few years and you can imagine our excitement when we learnt that our dye house in downtown Los Angeles – the one powered entirely by solar panels – specializes in commercial batik’ing. Though the scale may be slightly larger than our wall hanging, commercial batik quality comes down to the same two factors: a lot of labor and a lot of love.

In celebration of the launch of the super-gorgeous black batik (joining our other 4 batik colors) we’re throwing a very special online party starting at 3:00am PST, Wednesday, June 12th. It'll last only 72 hours and involves a great promo. To stay tuned, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest as we reveal more party info in the days to come. 

Have a beautiful weekend and if the skies are clear, be sure to take a moment to look up! The act of looking up into the Universe always brings us much joy and freedom - reminding us that we are part of something so great, so vast and so truly beautiful. 

"I will love the light, for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."
- Og Mandino 

See you on KOOSHOO's social media as we reveal more about the Batik party!

Much love and happy star-gazing,

Jess & Rach

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