Bali is a small volcanic island in a series of islands that make up Indonesia. It is known for stunning beaches and lush tropical landscape… it’s known as paradise. I was first drawn to Bali many years ago enticed by the promise of perfect waves and friendly locals – of which I happily found both!
It was also in Bali and the other islands of Indonesia that I discovered the rich variety of textiles. The intricate techniques that go into producing Batik and Ikat fabrics and the skills that are passed down through generations. No trip to these islands is complete without a conversation with a stranger that leads to a trip on the back of a bike to a hidden workshop to find beautifully created fabrics. I am lucky now that many of these strangers have become friends.
When I think of Bali I think of waking before dawn and in the still of the air paddling my surfboard across crystal clear reefs to surf waves like glass while fish dart below my feet. I think of the hectic traffic and the weaving of the bikes amongst the trucks, of the incense smelling offerings that line the roads, walls and beaches. I think of delicious dragon fruit smoothies drank in the shade of the afternoon.
No trip to Bali for me is without visiting the markets of Denpasar, of rootling through stacks of fabrics in forgotten corners of tiny shops while someone insists that they are the only person who can help me and their cousin/ uncle/ brother is the only person who will have the best fabrics in the whole of the Island, if only I would follow (and pay) them. I love this about the Balinese, the clever way they entice you to go with them, cajoling, insisting and dragging me by the hand or clothing! Somehow I always manage to emerge from the markets of Denpasar, perhaps a bit poorer but with new friends.
I believe every piece of fabric I have ever brought from Indonesia carries with it the essence of the landscape, people and their warmth and skills.