We work closely with an amazing array of talented artists and their families across Java, Madura and Bali in the Indonesian Archipelago.
All our fabrics are sourced directly from the artists, their family businesses and small community collectives. We love visiting all our artists in their studios and seeing how they and their communities work together. In AND.M we try very hard to make sure we pass on as much of the artists stories on as possible - telling you about the ideas behind the imagery and colours they use.
The passion and skill put into each and every piece of fabric is insane and that is why batik and textiles from these areas are truely amazing.
Artists work to preserve and contribute their own unique piece of history in their regions and build a better future. They want to share their stories with you and the team at AND.M is honoured to act as their international voice.
Cirebon, West Java
Batik in Cirebon is often characterised by the iconic Mega Mendung motif that show oriental style, swirling clouds that travel throughout many of the designs. This memorising pattern in one of our absolute favourites and at its best when done with the Tulis method which brings out its full complexity. Like the rings that can tell us the age of trees - the lines that show the colour graduation around the cloud show us how many times artists have gone through the wax and dying process. And fellow humans... this can be A LOT of times... meaning one piece can often takes months and many hands to complete.
We also find our fun pastel colour range in Cirebon. It is endlessly fun to disrupt the strong colours found in the other regions with an addition of baby pink and blue. These stamp patterns are generally small repetitions of geometric lines juxtaposed with playful butterfly's and plants.
Jogjakarta, Central Java
The Special Region of Jogjakarta (sometimes spelt Yogyakarta) is widely regarded as the art capital of Indonesia. The biggest art colleges and batik studios are often found in this region. Batik traditionally was the art of the sultans and, back in the day many motifs (such as parang) could only be worn by the Sultans. In the batik world every motif has a story - some are incredibly specific and can only be worn on certain occasions, certain periods of ones life and some is the story of the region and the artists who created it.
Batik from Jogja is strong. Strong colours. Strong patterns. We love how unapologetically bold and confident these designs are. Colours are often a bit more serious and darker than that found in other regions. We work with a number of artists around this region that create amazing traditional pieces as well as a variety of artists who are pushing the boundaries of modern methods and developing abstract imagery.
Semarang, Central Java
Semarang is not your traditional batik town - and not you might say, strictly known for batik at all. But what you find here is something that we love about the batik industry in Indonesia. Collaboration. This amazing community, like others in Surabaya and Madura - for a variety of reasons outsource, collaborate and hustle to have a piece created and their artistic vision realised to the best quality.
All the Semarang designs are drawn by artists there and then sent to other communities to be dyed and finished. They show the heart of Semarang, often featuring plants and spices such as tamarind.
Kudus, Jepara & La Sem, Central Java
Central Java has communities dotted everywhere that are creating amazing batik and woven textiles. Drive down a dusty road or up a volcano and you will probably find yourself with a warm welcome from a Javanese family.
The regions of Kudus, Jepara and La Sem can be seen as points to a triangle with Kudus being the inland point. And, despite their relative proximity create very different art - we love it all.
Kudus batik is bold, with vibrant colours and often modern imagery mixed in with more tradition patterns (guitars, styled flowers). Some of our favs include the use of raw rice in the patterns.
Batik and woven textiles (we will bring in woven designs soon!) are heavily influenced by the sea and mangroves in Jepara. Seen in their lively representations of turtles in some of their works.
La Sem is an area that only creates Tulis batik. Often in amazing and complex detail. Artists in La Sem effortlessly create batik using traditional and modern imagery - unafraid to mix ideas and styles to paint a single image across the piece. You will see the closeness they share with they coastal environment throughout their work - often drawing sea plants and imagined close up scenes of the water line.
Surabaya, East Java
Textile art in Surabaya is in such an amazing stage of development. Nowhere else have we encountered such a mixture of new artists finding their feet in innovative ways.
The Indonesian and local Governments currently have a number of incentives in place to help new communities learn about batik and begin new businesses in the industry. Some communities find themselves beginning in batik after experiencing unemployment from structural change in the economy. Right at the beginning of their batik journey these unlikely artists are creating amazing works tinged with naivety and optimistic exploration as they find their own voice. We can't wait to see how their art develops and support them along the way.
In our current collection we have a few select pieces of Tulis made in collaboration with some artists in the Surabaya region that have an amazing rusted effect.
Island of Madura
Madura Island has an incredible history of creating batik. Here they pretty much specialise in creating only Tulis - in mind-blowing detail. There are a number of batik communities and families that have been involved in the art-form for generations. Many still employ traditional methods to create the style they want - these can stretch the production of a single piece to over a year. Like many traditional methods - especially those using natural dye mean that fabrics need to be submerged longer in the dye. On Madura they achieve this by putting the fabric in a cauldron and leaving it, keeping submerged in the dark to do its thing for however long it takes. (Isn't that awesome!)
Tulis from Madura is incredibly complex, each piece is made up of thousands of tiny wax strokes that come together to make up a complete image - usually with a sea theme. Stunning boats and sea creatures. What makes the batik here extra special is that they will often "double up" on the wax so that each side of the fabric is perfect - this is something that isn't widely done (some artists in Jogja, La Sem and Cirebon continue this on certain pieces) anymore due to the time it takes.
We are just beginning to work with artists on Madura and are excited to develop relationships and help build economies there. This is an Island affected greatly by poverty and changes to the economy, an ongoing draught on the island is also having a massive affect on communities. Lack of water to communities that have traditionally relied on batik for an income mean that they can no longer dye the fabric.
Island of Bali
As yet we don't source any fabric from Bali. (can't wait to share some of the insane woven ikat fabric though!) But the art of batik clothing doesn't stop once the fabric is dyed and dried - oh no no my friends.
It continues until the garment is completed. There is a special process called sanggit (you can read more in our blog) - this is the time taken by our amazing tailors to align the batik imagery onto whatever garment they are making. A great deal of thought goes into each and every garment created as the head tailor will work to bring out the best aspects of the batik.
And the results are so worth it! Each design looks truly unique as it highlights different aspects of the batik artists work.
Each piece is then assigned to a seamstress who works her magic and creates the amazing garment you see.
It is the collaboration of many hands and minds that makes AND.M's story so full of life - we are so proud and so thankful to all those in this journey working to change the world through art and fashion.