The greatest revelation of my trip to Indonesia was the discovery of Batik. I mean proper, serious elegant Batik; unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before. I had always slightly dismissed Batik as just too hippy and messy for my graphic aesthetic and suddenly I was looking at these fabrics that were just so mind-blowing and excellent I turned a 180 degrees on my opinion of it. In particular I was struck by the Megamendung motif. An ancient design which was brought to Indonesia in the 8th century BC by the Chinese which is still going very strong.
It reminded me suddenly of a piece of fabric my mother had hanging over her bedroom window in her Montauk summer-house. A white cotton ground with the most delicate clouds shifting across its surface. Nuances of Indigo blue; each shadow of the cloud gradually darkening and representing a layer of dye and wax resist slowly applied by a copper Tjanting Tool.
The word itself stems from the Javanese word amba meaning ‘to write’ and titik meaning ‘dot’ or ‘point’…. more soon.