Sunday & Sunflowers.

Hi, busy-bees! I know I haven’t been writing here as frequently as I intended to. To be honest, there are still some posts lining up at the back of my mind, including some from my recent trips to India, Flores, and Yogyakarta. However, there’s an exciting news that I’d like to share with you. Last month, together with my lovely girl Nadia, I launched Sunday & Sunflowers.

Screen shot 2013-06-17 at 3.10.15 PM

Capturing moments has always been a dream of Nadia and me: either through pictures, movies, poetic scripts, writings, or music. Sunday & Sunflowers does exactly that. We were happy and excited to work together with some amazing clients; both individual and corporate clients, even before our official launch took place!

Screen shot 2013-06-17 at 3.10.45 PM

The stories on how we ended up doing this can be read here, but today, I am going to share “The Ballerina”–the latest photo shoot that we’ve done for Fany Nasution, a talented dancer. I think the shots and the script from “The Ballerina” perfectly describes how Nadia and I had decided to follow our dreams and be where we are right now.

THEBALLERINA(FRONT)ss

Listen to the tunes of your heart–no matter how faint they are, and follow the path that lights up your each and every step with joy and gratitude. Move with the flow of life instead of going against it. Be at a certain moment of silence and feel the world shines through you. Absorb that feeling of having the brightest star inside, as for one to be a star, one must have the courage to shine. [Photo + make-up by Sunday/Nadia and script by Sunflowers/Hanny]

BALLERINA 3

BALLERINA 4

BALLERINA 2

BALLERINA 6


Making Batik in Ubud: Susuwatari Spotted A Lotus.

Batik (/ˈbætɪk/ or /bəˈtiːk/; Javanese pronunciation: [ˈbateʔ]; Indonesian: [ˈbatɪk]) is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2, 2009. 

I had always wanted to learn how to make batik. The hot wax, the tracing of the lines, the coloring, the patience… I found the process both beautiful and calming; like a meditation practice. The opportunity to learn how to make batik came to me not in Yogyakarta or Solo, but in Ubud, Bali. Adit introduced me to Pak Nyoman and Ibu Rai, who own Nirvana—a small inn/gallery hidden in the midst of Ubud’s touristy Gautama Street.

Adit batik

Pak Nyoman is an Ubud-born painter who works with batik, oil paint, and water color. He had been an artist-in-residence at Bondi Pavilion, Sydney and Toorak College, Melbourne, lectured at John Kennedy Hall, Guam University, and exhibited extensively in Australia, Italy, Guam, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland. One morning, together with Adit and his cousin, Uma, I spent a day in Ubud to learn how to make batik.

The very first thing to do is to draw a pattern on the cloth with a pencil. Since it was my very first time, I decided to draw something simple and playful. I ended up drawing Susuwatari (wandering soot/ススワタリ)—that appears in Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away; who got curious due to a sudden appearance of a lotus.

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 1.31.52 PM

Once the drawing is finished, we continue to the second step: tracing the lines with hot wax. Dip the “canting” pen into the hot wax and make sure the canting isn’t too full, or else the wax will spill out. Before tracing the lines, blow the tip of the canting pen to make the wax flows easier. We need to concentrate during the tracing process and keep the canting pen at the right angle to ensure that the wax will continue to flow without spilling over.

batik susuwatari

batik susuwatari

Next, a more relaxing process: coloring! Don’t mix the paint with too much water if you’d like to have a vibrant color. Uma worked on a Balinese drawing with Balinese color that day—the kind you’d be seeing in cloths sold at some small shops along Kuta or Legian street stretch; while Adit worked on something more Japanese with the drawings of a fish in a pond.

batik susuwatari

batik susuwatari

batik

Once the coloring is done and the paint is dry, we need to go back to the hot wax. The next step is to glaze the paint (colored areas) with hot wax. We don’t use canting pen for this. We use a brush instead. Dip the brush into the hot wax, and glaze, dip and glaze, dip and glaze. You need to ensure that the colored surface has been glazed perfectly. You can check this by turning the cloth over; the spots you miss will be visible. Pandjul—the son of Pak Nyoman and Ibu Rai helped me in checking the missed spots and glazing them; while Bocil, the family dog, was waiting for us to finish with sleepy eyes.

batik glazing

bocil

After the glazing, the next step is to color the whole cloth. You can pick the color that you like. The cloth will then be dipped into a color solution of your selection.

batik susuwatari

And then, it’s time to get rid of all the wax in your cloth. How? By dipping the cloth into a pan of boiling water, of course!

batik

After that, you need to put your cloth to dry… and then you can see the results. Adit and Uma’s cloths turned out seriously stunning and beautiful! They are so talented!

batik

batik

And this one is mine. My batik cloth: Susuwatari Spotted A Lotus :D

batik susuwatari lotus

Would you like to learn how to make batik, too? If you’re in Ubud one day, come early in the morning to:

Nirvana Gallery
Jalan Gautama 10, Padangtegal Kaja, Ubud,
Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. (80571)
Phone : +62.361.975415
E-mail : info@nirvanaku.com
Website : http://www.nirvanaku.com

and please pet Bocil the dog for me!


Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

I’m back.

Sketchbook, brushes and watercolors. A tiny collection, a very minimum supply. But I’m enjoying my time (a surplus of anything won’t guarantee your happiness), making a mess in my room. During weekends, the windows are wide open. The sunlight is pouring in. On weekdays, arriving at home late at night, I’m embracing the light bulbs and the sound of the cicadas. Sitting in front of my dressing table, I’m coloring some of the drawings I’ve made the previous days, while waiting for my hair to dry. The sweet smell of the shampoo is wafting over my head.

I take the luxury of ordering beautiful illustration books, which are so darn expensive. But I am saving my money to get these books onto my working desk, with the same amount of determination that may be possessed by a woman who has been craving for a pair of branded shoes for years. Books, of any kind, have always become my most valuable possessions. Especially when the books are beautifully illustrated!

Lately, sketchbooks and journals of artists and painters draw me in. It’s like peeking into their creative minds and nibbling at it (hmm, sounds zombie-ish, but no, it’s actually ‘nibbling’ in a rather cute way!)

Thus, I’m back with my sketchbook, brushes, and watercolors. Something I’ve given up hope for long ago. But now it feels exciting and dear to me again, all of a sudden. Travel journal catches my heart as it captures three things that I’m so in love with: traveling, writing, and drawing.

So, I’m starting to paint Hong Kong while preparing myself to paint my future journeys.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary | Pablo Picasso


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