This class is led by Kadek Meri Antari and Wayan Sumerta. As the host for this class, Meri draws on her knowledge of Indonesia’s textile traditions and Threads of Life’s field work to guide the class’s visits to the dye studio and dye plant botanical garden, and to introduce the traditional natural dyes of Indonesia. Wayan is a Balinese traditional painter in the Gaya Tebesaya sytle and an indigo dyer at the Threads of Life dye studio. Along with his abundant sense of humour and patient teaching, he brings his hand drawing and artistic composition skills to his work with batik, and his experience with indigo to the class’s dye work.
Mary and Wayan’s work is supported by Threads of Life’s master dyers, I Made Maduarta (Pung), I Komang Sujata (Komang) and I Wayan Sukadana. Since 2000, these Balinese have worked across the archipelago with natural dyers still making traditional textiles using ancestral recipes. These recipes change as the landscape changes – forests have been cleared at an alarming rate over the past 20 years – and would be lost without a deeper understanding of the dye processes that helps dyers adapt their practices. Pung, Komang and Wayan have performed hundreds of dye experiments, and also work with communities to develop the sustainable cultivation and harvesting of dye plants.
The homemade lunch offers a sample tasting of a Balinese-inspired nasi campur — with a medley of flavours, textures and colours, all fresh from nature — that complements the colours of our dye workshop. Healthy natural-coloured beverages (tonics) will also be served. A vegetarian option is always available, but please let us know in advance if you have any food allergies we should know of.
09.00 – 09.15 Participants meet at the Threads of Life Gallery in Ubud from where you will be driven 4 kilometres to the workshop location at the Threads of Life dye studio and dye plant botanical garden set in the beautiful grounds of the Umajati Retreat in Petulu, Ubud (umajati.com).
09.30 – 12.30 The class starts with an introduction to Threads of Life and the work of the natural dye studio, with a guided walk around the dye plant garden and an introduction to the traditional natural dyes of Indonesia. After instruction in how to batik, you will create the first part of your personal batik design on a 50×50 cm piece of cotton. You will then apply indigo dye to your personal batik and, while you are waiting for cloth to dry, there will be a demonstration of making indigo dye with leaves harvested from the garden. There will then be time to apply another layer of batik wax to your design before a second round of indigo dyeing generates two-shades of blue on your final piece.
12.30 – 13.00 Lunch is served while staff remove the batik wax from your piece.
13.15 – 13.30 After the class you will be driven from Petulu back to the Ubud Palace at the crossroads in the centre of Ubud.