Batik Bima Sakti:Laba-laba motif

Recently I visited Bu Hartinah of the batik -making collective in Giriloyo, Jogjakarta. My friend, batik artist Brigitte Wallach introduced me to their work through an exhibition she had of her collection of Bima Sakti batiks at the Museum Tekstil in Jakarta in August of 2015. I was particularly taken by a batik with a spider web motif in that exhibition and decided to go to Giriloyo to see if I could find another one like it.

 

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There are a number of batik-maker groups in this area, most of which got started after the devastating earthquake of 2004 leveled the area and killed many people. At that time there was much relief aid made available to the area and efforts by various NGO’s toward economic development led to cultivating batik as a source of income. Bu Hartinah’s group however had already been established since 1988.

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This is Bu Hartinah’s home and it serves as the showroom for Bima Sakti’s batik. There is very little stock of finished batik however, and most of it is made to order.

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These are some pieces that Bu Hartinah brought out to show us that day.

The batik on the left is tambal motif, made up of triangles, each with a different pattern.

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This black and white batik is unfinished, showing the first step in the process. Later some areas that will remain white will be covered with wax and the sogan brown will be added to the rest.

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The tiny dots called cecek are applied one by one with the canting having the smallest opening.

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Bu Hartiniah holding the book by Brigitte Wallach illustrating many of the batik in the Museum Tekstil Exhibition, along with the history of the group. The batik I am holding is an iket, or head cloth, always square and with a lozenge in the center. It is folded and tied into a turban worn by the members of the sultan’s court.

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Bu Hartiniah and the members of the group take great pride in their work and each piece is signed and titled.

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This is the batik that I ordered last September. It took about two months to complete. Laba-laba means spider, and this motif dates back over 100 years.

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The format is a kain panjang which is used as a hip wrapper. It’s around 2 and 1/2 yards long and about 42 inches wide.

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Bu Hartinah is very hospitable and welcomes visitors.

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